TOT-CAT merger gets cabinet nod

TOT-CAT merger gets cabinet nod

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the merger of TOT and CAT Telecom and the formation of a new company, National Telecom (NT), which will be 100% owned by the Finance Ministry.

Narumon Pinyosinwat, the government's spokeswoman, said the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry is tasked with supervising and ensuring a completed merger within six months.

The two organisations have already hired financial advisers to evaluate their assets, she said.

The merger plan was formulated by the government a few years ago to keep the two state-run telecom enterprises afloat, after a previous plan to create two new companies from the two organisations did not progress.

Mrs Narumon said the merger is the best solution to eliminating redundancies in business operations, as well as creating added value for existing assets.

She said the merger will not affect existing employees or lead to layoffs.

TOT has more than 14,000 employees, while CAT has about 6,000.

Mrs Narumon said the cabinet also gave the green light for TOT and CAT to participate in the 5G licence auctions.

The merger will be a boon for preparing the state telecom enterprise to cope with rapid changes in technology and the telecom industry, said DES Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta.

As all the spectra held by TOT and CAT Telecom expire by 2025, the merger will open the door for the two organisations to explore business opportunities together, he said.

This would include 5G spectrum licences, the auction for which is scheduled for Feb 16, Mr Buddhipongse said.

After the merger, consultancy firms will be sought to study and lay out plans for legal obstacles, merger procedures and human resource management.

The consultants will also map out NT's business direction after the merger, Mr Buddhipongse said.

The NT will run five businesses: hard infrastructure, international telecommunication network, fixed-line and broadband, mobile operations, and digital infrastructure and services.

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