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Telecommunication

Telenor taps Myanmar chief to turnaround Thai mobile unit

Dtac is losing subscribers and revenue as competition heats up

A Dtac shop in central Bangkok: The Thai mobile carrier lost roughly 1.5 million subscribers in 2018.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Telenor has named the head of Myanmar operations as CEO of its struggling Thai mobile carrier Total Access Communication, known as Dtac, effective Feb. 1.

The appointment of Sharad Mehrotra, announced Thursday, is seen as an effort to revamp a company whose earnings have slumped as competition has intensified.

Mehrotra led Telenor's India unit before taking over Myanmar operations at the Norwegian state-backed telecom giant, which owns 43% of Dtac.

He replaces Alexandra Reich, who became the Thai carrier's first female CEO just 17 months earlier.

Sharad Mehrotra

Dtac has been shedding market share to local rivals Advanced Info Service and True Corp., losing roughly 1.5 million subscribers in 2018. Mehrotra has experience in highly competitive markets.

For 2018, Dtac reported a 4% decline in revenue to 74.9 billion baht ($2.48 billion) and a net loss of 4.3 billion baht. The plunge into red ink resulted from a large settlement fee the company paid to end a dispute with government-backed CAT Telecom.

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