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3G Saga taking Thailand back to bad old days of monopoly?

Despite stumbling steps towards liberalisation, the telecom industry is now sliding back to the old and gruesome monopoly era, with state-owned enterprises TOT and CAT Telecom set to take the lead role in 3G services, leaving private operators shunted to the sidelines.

After a lengthy wait, TOT yesterday won the Cabinet’s approval for its Bt20-billion project for a nationwide network of third-generation wireless broadband service. Next in line is CAT, which could stitch together another nationwide 3G network if it can complete the purchase of Hutchison Telecom’s network.

This is becoming a reality through a series of developments that will turn TOT and CAT into the sole operators of nationwide 3G services, which allow better and faster flow of such data as text, e-mail, social media and video on mobile phones. These services are considered crucial in generating revenue in an industry where traditional voice revenue is declining because of intense competition.

The Nation

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