Ex-Channel 3 head picked for NT board

Ex-Channel 3 head picked for NT board

Cash flow a core strength of the firm

Ariya: Possesses specific skill set
Ariya: Possesses specific skill set

Ariya Banomyong, former president of Channel 3 operator BEC World, has been chosen as one of five additional board members at National Telecom (NT), says a source at the company who requested anonymity.

These five new board members have specific skills, ranging from digital services to engineering backgrounds, which could facilitate NT's five core businesses, said the source.

The five new board members are expected to be officially announced in May.

A management executive from Bangkok Bank, someone from the satellite business and the director-general of the Meteorological Department were also among the new board members, according to the source.

The incumbent board members comprise: Gp Capt Somsak Khaosuwan, who also serves as acting chief executive of the company; ML Chayotid Kridakon, who is also the board chairman; Col Sanphachai Huvanandana; Amnuay Preemonwong; and Chamroen Phothiyod.

NT, a merged unit of state telecom enterprises TOT and CAT Telecom, is pursuing several key businesses: hard infrastructure, international service, fixed broadband service, mobile service and digital service.

The source said the list of the additional five board members had been acknowledged by the prime minister.

Mr Ariya left BEC World in June 2020, two months after he tendered his resignation. He later invested in and served as an adviser to ScoutOut, a recruitment startup.

Before working for BEC World, he served as managing director of Line Thailand, country head of Google Thailand and an independent director at Index Living Mall.

"One core strength of NT is its cash flow of around 100 billion baht," said the source.

NT is in talks with Advanced Info Service and True Move H Universal Communication for partnership deals in connection with NT's 700-megahertz spectrum and the duo's licences for the 2600MHz band and their cellular stations.

The NT board is concerned about its business plan for 5G service as the company must ensure a real revenue stream in the future, according to the source.

NT won 20MHz of bandwidth on the 700MHz range at a cost of 34.3 billion baht at last year's 5G spectrum licence auction. Some 20 billion baht is required to be spent during the initial period of the firm's network expansion.

The source said the board faces at least three critical agenda items.

First, it needs to establish a clear strategic and operational plan for the 5G business.

Second, NT should explore new opportunities to create a revenue stream, especially after 2025 when its existing deals on spectrum usage with other operators expire. Revenues from these deals generate a lot of revenue creating that generous cash flow, said the source.

After 2025, NT has only the 700MHz and 26-gigahertz spectrum ranges from which to operate services, in addition to other telecom assets such as cell sites.

"2025 is a critical deadline for NT to prove whether it can survive on its own," said the source.

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