True ‘not in talks’ to acquire DTAC


TRUE CORP chief executive officer Suphachai Chearavanont has denied rumours that True is in talks with Total Access Communication (DTAC) about the acquisition of shares in its mobile-business rival.

He said yesterday that True had never engaged in such talks and that DTAC’s foreign strategic partner, Norway’s Telenor, had never made a proposal to True to buy its shares in DTAC.
However, if Telenor wanted to sell its shares in DTAC to any potential buyers, True would be keen to consider such a purchase in order to expand its business empire, he added.
Rumours about Telenor’s desire to exit the Thai market have circulated from time to time since DTAC’s failure to clinch any spectrum licences from the auctioning off of 900MHz licences and 1800MHz licences late last year.
Recently, one rumour even had it that DTAC and True are conducting due diligence as part of True’s purported move to take over the cellular operator.
Every time a rumour about Telenor’s plan to exit Thailand surfaces, DTAC has confirmed that it still has a strong position in the market and can leverage its current spectrum portfolio to offer competitive 4G services.
Last month, Gunn Waersted, chair of the board of directors at Telenor ASA, and Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group, on the occasion of their visit to Thailand, met Information and Communications Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana to discuss the government’s digital-economy development.
During the visit, Telenor remarked that it remained committed to the development of a digital Thailand and would continue to invest for the betterment of mobile services and Internet for all.
DTAC has encouraged the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to establish a clear road map for utilisation of the Kingdom’s telecom spectra, including planning for the auctioning of more licences in the 1800MHz band, along with the 850MHz, 700MHz and 2600MHz bands. The NBTC recently unveiled the new spectrum reallocation plan it had drawn up for its upcoming new NBTC board.
Some telecom analysts believe that this clear road map for spectrum reallocation is one of the factors contributing to the rise in DTAC’s share price.
The mobile operator’s share price rose steadily from Bt31.25 at the close of stock-market business on August 4 to Bt37.50 on August 11.
DTAC’s concessions for the 1800MHz and 850MHz bands expire in late 2018.
Its subsidiary, DTAC TriNet, holds the NBTC’s 2.1GHz licence.
True group last week reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand a second-quarter consolidated net loss of Bt370.7 million for the parent company, compared to a net profit of Bt1.39 billion in the same period last year.