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.