BANGKOK May 26 Thailand's Total Access
Communication Pcl and state firm TOT Pcl will partner
to launch the country's first wireless broadband 4G LTE-TDD
service on the 2300 MHz spectrum, the telecom companies said on
Total Access, the country's third-largest mobile operator,
will install about 20,000 telecom towers for TOT to lease for
TOT will then allow Total Access, controlled by Norway's
Telenor, to use 60 percent of the network for a fixed
payment of 4.51 billion baht ($132.45 million) per year, TOT
President Montchai Noosong said in a joint statement.
The 4G LTE-TDD 2300 MHz networks will help maximize the use
of frequency resources with the advantage of Time Division
Duplex (TDD) technology, he said.
The deal, which will help boost Thailand's digital
infrastructure, is expected to be completed by the fourth
quarter of this year, Total Access Chief Executive Officer Lars
Norling said in a joint statement.
This partnership is expected to provide access to broadband
internet coverage for at least 80 percent of the Thais living in
remote areas, he added.
Total Access is also keen to bid for the nation's 1800 MHz
spectrum, Norling said, without elaborating. The company
competes with market leader Advanced Info Service Pcl
and second-ranked True Corp.
Fitch Ratings said the deal with TOT will strengthen Total
Access's market position as its business has so far been
constrained by its relatively weak spectrum portfolio.
"However, additional contract payments, the potentially high
acquisition cost for the upcoming 1.8GHz spectrum auction in
2018, and the likely elevated network capex could put more
pressure on DTAC's earnings, cash flow and financial leverage in
the medium term," Fitch said.
($1 = 34.05 baht)
(Reporting by Wirat Buranakanokthanasan and Chayut
Setboonsarng; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Sherry