Samart to sell 40% of TOT 3G bandwidth [Bangkok Post, Thailand]By Komsan Tortermvasana, Bangkok Post, ThailandMcClatchy-Tribune Information Services
July 13--A subsidiary of Samart Corporation has been awarded a contract by TOT Plc to become a major mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) for the state telecom enterprise's third-generation (3G) wireless broadband service.
Under the five-year agreement, I-Mobile Plus will have the exclusive right to 40% of the state's 3G network capacity to be resold to end-users under TOT's new 3G business model, said TOT board chairman Panthep Chamrasromran.
The TOT board yesterday approved the contract, which will be reviewed every two years.
Mr Panthep said I-Mobile Plus has to pay TOT a guaranteed minimum revenue of 156 million baht for the first year and 476 million for the second.
TOT is also in talks with Loxley Plc for the latter to retail 20% of its 3G network capacity. For the remaining 40% of the capacity, Mr Panthep said TOT would require no guaranteed minimum revenue. Prospective winners of this portion of the capacity are 365 Communication, M Consult Asia, IEC Technology, Acumen and Jasmine Telecom Systems.
An MVNO is a company that provides mobile phone services but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation or its own infrastructure.
Previously, TOT signed one-year contracts with five firms to provide 3G service under the MVNO model. They were Samart I-Mobile, Loxley, IEC Technology, 365 Communication and M Consult Asia.
TOT has revamped its 3G business plan to match the current market situation and create better market opportunities.
Mr Panthep said TOT now has 2,300 3G base stations and expects the number to reach 5,320 in October. TOT had signed a co-site agreement with mobile leader Advanced Info Service to share 800 base stations during the first stage plus an additional 300 sites with No.3 TrueMove.
Mr Panthep said I-Mobile Plus targets having 860,000 3G subscribers in the first year of operations and 1.81 million in the second year. To accommodate demand, TOT's board will discuss the second phase of 3G network expansion on July 26.
Mr Panthep said TOT plans to ask the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission for permission to use 30 megahertz of its 64-MHz bandwidth on the 2300-MHz frequency to provide 4G LTE service.
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