The board of Thailand's CAT has given in-principle approval to a proposed merger with fellow state-owned operator TOT as an alternative to splitting up both companies.
CAT's board has approved a resolution for a merger with TOT to create a national telecom company that would be in a stronger position to compete against private rivals, the Bangkok Postreported.
The merger is strongly supported by CAT's labor union and has the in-principle approval of the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, but still requires the okay from TOT.
According to the report, TOT's board and labor union are likely to approve a merger if it is conducted in 2025, after its current partnership contracts with mobile operators and spectrum rights for the 2100-MHz and 2300-MHz bands expire.
If it goes through, the merger would be conducted instead of the government's original plan to spin off the infrastructure assets of both companies into two new companies, with TOT forming a new company called National Broadband Network and CAT creating the Neutral Gateway and Data Centre Company.
The government has been seeking to create a national backhaul company since 2014, and put the spin-off plan into motion last year. But the plan was suspended in March this year due to opposition from the state-owned companies and their labor unions, and the alternative merger plan was proposed in April.