National Telecom slashes 2024 investment budget by B1bn

National Telecom slashes 2024 investment budget by B1bn

Expenditure to be further reviewed

The headquarters of National Telecom in Bangkok’s Laksi district. (Photo: NT)
The headquarters of National Telecom in Bangkok’s Laksi district. (Photo: NT)

The management of state telecom enterprise National Telecom (NT) has cut 1 billion baht from its investment budget of 6 billion for 2024 operations in an effort to ease its financial burden.

The 1 billion baht was part of a budget for network investment and equipment purchases, said board chairman Nattapon Nattasomboon, and the reduction will not affect NT's service quality.

Mr Nattapon assigned management to review other expenditure items to reduce the investment budget by a further 500 million baht, submitting the results for the board's consideration in March.

In addition, the board recently approved a 6.6-billion-baht budget for an early retirement programme, with 2,800 employees expected to participate over the next three years.

NT has 12,800 employees, down from around 15,000 in 2021 when TOT and CAT Telecom merged to form NT.

He said the state enterprise has to be cost-effective and cut redundant or unnecessary expenditure in this operating environment.

NT is attempting a business turnaround plan to create new revenue streams, said Mr Nattapon.

NT generates revenue of around 40 billion baht annually through several existing partnership agreements with private telecom operators and some of its business agreements with private mobile phone operators expire and its rights to use several spectrum ranges end in September 2025.

Prior to the merger, TOT partnered with Advanced Info Service (AIS) on TOT's 2100-megahertz business development.

TOT also partnered with Total Access Communication on TOT's 2300-MHz range.

The rights to use those spectrum ranges expire in 2025.

Prior to the merger, CAT partnered with True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) on CAT's 850-MHz range and the holding right of the spectrum use will end in 2025.

After 2025, NT will hold only its telecom assets, especially telecom towers, and operate on some spectrum ranges such as 700MHz and 26GHz it obtained from the licence auction in February 2020.

Mr Nattapon said NT has no time to hesitate, needing to quickly complete its business turnaround as well as improve operating efficiency.

He said several agendas are being expedited.

Mr Nattapon said NT recently signed an exclusive contract worth 670 million baht with Dhanarak Asset Development (DAD), owner of Ratthaprasasanabhakti Building, also known as Government Complex A, B and C on Chaeng Watthana Road.

Under the 10-year contract, NT will upgrade fibre network and WiFi access for buildings A and B, install network and WiFi infrastructure in building C, which is a new building, preparing to serve state agencies and units to start their operations in the building soon.

The contract with DAD should provide a medium-term revenue stream, he said.

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