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Business

Thailand's Dtac to offer 4G network with state firm

Companies to sign deal by the end of the year

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Customers wait for service at a Dtac shop in central Bangkok.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand's Total Access Communication, commonly known as Dtac, will join with state-owned telecom operator TOT to offer 4G wireless network services.

Dtac will pay 4.51 billion baht ($132 million) annually to access 60% of TOT's 2,300MHz spectrum, setting up 20,000 cell towers. The remaining 40% network capacity will be used by TOT to offer its own 4G services using Dtac's infrastructure.

The two companies will officially ink the deal by the end of this year. Dtac CEO Lars Norling is hopeful that the alliance will boost network speeds and help the company offer smoother service.

From the end of 2015 through 2016, the Thai government held two auctions for 4G network licenses. Dtac lost out both times, with the licenses going to the country's top network operator, Advanced Info Service, and the third-largest, True Corp.

As a result, Dtac fell from the country's second-largest telecom operator to third as more customers went to True during the January-March quarter.

The most recent deal also involved fierce competition from rivals, but this time, Dtac emerged victorious. The deciding factor was Dtac's offer to set up twice as many towers as its competitors, according to TOT President Montchai Noosong.

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