Thailand's TOT draws MVNO interest

Melissa Chua
30 Jan 2012
Daily News

Thailand’s TOT is currently in talks with two European operators over the launch of 3G MVNO services in Thailand.

TOT chairman Panthep Chamrasromran told the Bangkok Post that the two operators have expressed interest in offering 3G services on TOT’s network via an MVNO arrangement.

Chamrasromran said parties involved are currently negotiating business models and the outcome will likely be known next month.

Although the identities of the two interested parties could not be revealed, Chamrasromran said one of the two interested parties hails from Norway, the homestead of Telenor, a majority shareholder in TOT rival DTAC.

Chamrasromran revealed TOT is in the process of reviewing its MVNO strategy, which involves regrouping its MVNOs into three categories: strategic partners, conventional MVNOs and resellers.

According to Chamrasromran, a strategic partner works closely with TOT for network expansion and marketing while a conventional MVNO will provide services and have its own billing system. A reseller will sell 3G SIM cards on TOT’s behalf.

TOT’s position as the only operator in Thailand with the license to offer commercial 3G services on the 2.1-GHz band - via its subsidiary TOT 3G – makes it a key target for MVNO interest. Rivals AIS and DTAC operate 3G services on their existing 2G frequencies.

TOT lifted the lid on its 3G growth plans in December, revealing plans to add 15,000 more base stations to its 3G network, with the aim of deploying the first 5,2000 BTS by May. A 16 billion baht contract was awarded last May to build a nationwide 3G network.

China Telecom’s European division earlier this month signed an MVNO agreement with UK carrier EverythingEverywhere, with services targeted at Chinese nationals and businesses in the UK.

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