A proposed merger between True Corp and dtac which would create the largest mobile player in Thailand by connections and leave the country with only two major operators, attracted the attention of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, which summoned executives from both companies to discuss the impact of consolidation, Bangkok Post reported.

The boards of both companies today (22 November) acknowledged plans to make conditional tender offers for all the shares of True and dtac, and approving proposals to work out a merger. The proposed transaction values the deal at THB282.8 billion ($8.6 billion), Reuters reported.

GSMA Intelligence figures show the merged company would have held a 53.7 per cent market share at end-Q3 versus the 43 per cent of leader AIS.

In a joint statement the companies explained they aim to reach an agreement by Q1 2022.

Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of True Corp’s main shareholder and chairman of the operator, predicted the combined “telecom-tech company” could “help unleash the enormous potential of Thai businesses and digital entrepreneurs”.

Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of dtac parent Telenor Group, noted a focus on boosting “Thailand’s digital leadership role, by taking global technology advancements into attractive services and high-quality products”.

Any final agreement requires approval by the operators’ shareholders of and standard regulatory clearances.

The deal comes as Telenor Group looks to pull back its operators in Asia, which led to a deal to combine its Malaysian unit with Axiata Group and a move to exit Myanmar.