DTAC shareholder Telenor vows to remain in Thailand

DTAC shareholder Telenor vows to remain in Thailand

Mr Brekke reiterated that Asia is very quickly catching up with digital development.
Mr Brekke reiterated that Asia is very quickly catching up with digital development.

Telenor Group, the major shareholder in Total Access Communication Plc (DTAC), has expressed its commitment to long-term investment in Thailand and contributing to people throughout society.

"I can assure you that Thailand is really important for us," Sigve Brekke, president and chief executive of Telenor, said in a recent webinar entitled "Preparing for the next pandemic".

"We have been in Thailand for 20 years and we are looking forward to the next 20 years. We want to do business in a responsible way. We want to be seen as a contributor to the overall society."

His remarks come as speculation recently swirled about the possibility of DTAC being bought by other telecoms companies in Thailand.

Norway's Telenor exited Myanmar on July 8 as the company entered into an agreement to sell 100% of its business unit in the country to the M1 Group, a Lebanon-based investment company.

In June, Telenor and Malaysian telecoms company Axiata Group Bhd signed a deal to merge their Malaysian mobile operations.

According to Mr Brekke, Telenor highlights the importance of digital inclusion, digital competency and how the company can contribute to Asia's development.

Telenor operates in nine markets with a total of 188 million customers, nine out of 10 of which are in Asia.

In the next five years, 700 million new people are expected to use mobile internet in Asia for the first time.

"We have to ensure digital inclusion," Mr Brekke said.

Mr Brekke at the "Preparing for the next pandemic" webinar.

Telenor is also empowering people with digital skills with content catering for specific groups.

DTAC has rolled out a smart farmer app to help farmers gain knowledge to increase their income, as well as the Net for Living programme that supports small entrepreneurs.

According to Mr Brekke, the telecoms industry will see a new wave of growth in a digital ecosystem.

"We see now that Asia is very quickly catching up with digital development," he said.

The pandemic is speeding up the integration of the new technologies of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).

"We will see a revolution in the way products and services are being delivered, especially in the business segment. New solutions will come out to help the businesses pursue digitalisation," said Mr Brekke.

"We need regulatory certainty and we need also market structures which are favourable."

Speaking at the same event, Kenth Engo-Monsen, fellow of Telenor Research at Telenor Group, said Telenor has played a part in a project in Norway to use mobile big data to forecast the spread of Covid-19 since February last year.

"When using mobile phones, you are connected to the cell tower closest to you. This gives a location," he said, adding that the aggregated data can show the travel patterns of the population for the whole nation.

"We have to remember that it's not only the mobile data that is needed. We also need other types of data coming from the health side, including the number of cases and hospital load testing."

All the data sources can cast light on the pandemic situation and how it will unfold next, he said.

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