Thailand’s state-owned TOT has shortlisted three potential partners to help turn around the organisation, which lost THB1.3 billion ($39.5 million) in the first half of last year and was expecting a THB4.57 billion loss for the full year.
The three companies — AIS, Loxley and Mobile LTE – are TOT concessionaires. Local operators – True, dtac and Samart – as well as a number of foreign telecom operators, which expressed interest, didn’t make the cut, the Bangkok Post said.
TOT is looking at splitting into five or six subsidiaries with the support of private joint-venture partners. The country’s State Enterprise Policy Commission, set up by the National Council for Peace and Order to review the operations of a number of state enterprises, in August ordered both TOT and CAT Telecom to submit plans for cutting non-core businesses to enable it to streamline operations and cut costs.
The restructuring efforts are also intended to create new revenue streams and allow both state-run firms to emerge as full-service telecoms network service providers.
TOT’s new partners, which are expected to be named by March, would rent its 10MHz of unused 2.1GHz spectrum to provide 4G service. AIS has proposed to manage TOT’s towers through a joint-venture agreement, the Post said.
Meanwhile, CAT Telecom, in an effort to end its long-running disputes with private operators, last week said it plans to finalise a network sharing deal with True Move by March, after reaching a similar deal with dtac last month.
The country’s ICT Ministry and Finance Ministry announced in October they were discussing the possibility of merging the two firms.