Thailand’s state-owned CAT Telecom plans to finalise a network sharing deal with True Move by March, after reaching a similar deal with dtac last month.
CAT acting president Sanpachai Huvanandan said new agreements with its two concessionaires, which would again rent network infrastructure from the state-run firm, would create opportunities for new business partnerships, the Bangkok Post reported.
He said deals would also give CAT new revenue streams and allow it to become a telecoms network service provider and not just a telecoms operator, the Post said.
CAT announced in late November it was looking at ending its long-running disputes over network ownership with dtac and True Move – both of which operate 2G networks under concessions from CAT. Dtac and True Move have multiple outstanding arbitration claims worth more than THB10 billion ($303 million). They have argued the 1.8GHz concessions do not require them to transfer network assets to CAT. True Move’s concession expired last September while dtac’s expires in 2018.
CAT insists that under the build-transfer-operate concession, dtac and True Move are required to return their mobile infrastructure assets to CAT. Dtac has 13,000 base stations and True has 9,000 – they reportedly have returned only a total of 1,000.
In a sign that the state-owned enterprise was ready to negotiate, CAT signed a memorandum of understand in December with dtac on network sharing, which would allow dtac to expand its 3G network nationwide. The two are considering whether to set up a joint-venture company or an infrastructure fund.
CAT said at the time it was expected to sign a similar agreement with True Move soon.