Thailand’s CAT Telecom is looking at ending its long-running disputes over network ownership with dtac and True Move next year – both of which operate 2G networks under concessions from CAT.
In a sign that the state-owned enterprise is ready to negotiate, CAT announced last week it was preparing to enter into a network-sharing agreement with dtac, which would allow dtac to expand its 3G network nationwide. True Move is expected to sign a similar agreement soon, the Bangkok Post said.
Dtac and True Move have 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’s concession expired last September while dtac’s expires in 2018.
CAT has said 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.
CAT acting present Sanpachai Huvanandana outlined a number of options for ending the disputes next year. He said CAT was in talks with both operators and is discussing setting up a joint venture with each to manage the network assets under the concession, the Nation reported.
CAT over time would then consolidate the two joint ventures by setting up a telecoms infrastructure fund, which would rent out the assets.
Sanpachai said ending the disputes is vital to give the two operators confidence moving forward, as they could use the infrastructure even after their concessions end, the Post said.
CAT also said it expects to allow an additional four MVNOs to enter the market in the next six months.