CAT unites for Google Station

CAT unites for Google Station

CAT Telecom is teaming up with Google Thailand to roll out Google Station service, modernising CAT's WiFi hotspots in public areas.

Google Station is a Google service that allows partners to roll out WiFi hotspots in public places by providing software and offering advice on hardware to turn fibre connections into WiFi.

The partnership with CAT follows previous Google deals with India, Indonesia and Mexico.

A source in the Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry who requested anonymity said CAT recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Google for a three-year partnership deal to improve CAT's free WiFi hotspots (C smart WiFi) in Bangkok, before expanding to other provinces.

There are several thousand access points for C smart WiFi in Bangkok and major cities such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Khon Kaen.

CAT's WiFi service is operated under different brands based on funding support, such as CAT free WiFi in Bangkok, and MDES (Ministry of DE) free WiFi upcountry.

CAT's service development has been constrained because of the management structure of the state enterprise.

"The partnership for Google Station is a significant move supporting the government's digitally-driven road map for its Thailand 4.0 policy," said the source.

CAT owns numerous fibre networks across the country, on top of cable line and mobile networks on the 850MHz spectrum.

The company was also tasked with providing free WiFi hotspots under the DE Ministry's smart city development project.

But CAT executives declined to elaborate on details of the deal, including revenue-sharing through an advertising platform, saying that Google and CAT will hold an official release for the partnership on July 18.

Google Station was first launched in India two years ago and later expanded to Indonesia. The free service was made available in Mexico City in March.

Google Station is targeted to improve access to high-bandwidth services in areas where internet data plans are unaffordable.

CAT Telecom now operates service under its existing turnaround plan and is looking to generate new revenue by more efficiently utilising its existing telecom infrastructure.

In 2017, CAT entered a partnership agreement with a leading provider of real-time individual marketing on the digital platform, SPOTwerkz Thailand, to expand its business portfolio to digital marketing.

Under the agreement, CAT rented 300,000 WiFi hotspots in Phuket City to SPOTwerkz to provide WiFi advertising and marketing service to corporations or small and medium-sized enterprises in Phuket, in line with the government's Phuket smart city project.

CAT and SPOTwerkz will partner in major provinces and tourist destinations, as well as contribute to the government's smart cities project, covering Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and provinces in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

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