AIS tipped to partner TOT

AIS tipped to partner TOT

TOT Plc has shortlisted two companies for the final phase of negotiations for private partnerships to provide mobile service on its cellular infrastructure.

The negotiation process is expected to be concluded by Nov 15, said a TOT board director who asked not to be named.

"The two prospective private partners are most likely to be Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Mobile LTE," the source said.

The source stressed that AIS, Thailand's biggest mobile operator and TOT's largest concessionaire, has proposed the most attractive benefits to the state telecom and is almost certain to become its partner.

AIS has committed to rent 80% of TOT's mobile network capacity, while the remaining 20% will be reserved for renting to other companies.

TOT acting president Monchai Noosong said its board could not finalise the names of its partners for mobile business at Tuesday's meeting. The board has assigned TOT's management panel to further negotiate with prospective partners.

Mr Monchai admitted that TOT was now in negotiations with only two companies for partnership, but he declined to name them.

TOT allowed interested private companies to submit their proposals to form a strategic partnership, as required by the State Enterprises Policy Commission or superboard.

Five companies submitted proposals to provide 3G wireless broadband services on TOT's 2100-megahertz spectrum. They are AIS, Loxley Wireless, True Corporation, Samart Corporation and Mobile LTE.

Mr Monchai said TOT needed private partners to boost its mobile business and increase revenue.

"TOT and its partners expect to start developing mobile service early next year," he said.

Mr Monchai said TOT's board also ordered management to review its plan to file a petition against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission over the 900-MHz spectrum auctions to provide 4G service, saying management needs to take potential loss scenarios into account if the auctions are delayed.

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