BANGKOK -- Thailand's state-owned telecommunications operators TOT and CAT Telecom on Thursday completed a long-delayed merger made necessary by strong private-sector competition.
The new company, rebranded as National Telecom, will consolidate overlapping administrative staff such as those in the financial, human resources and legal departments. The process eventually will expand to other divisions, such as those involving information technology.
This approach will streamline operations and reduce costs, but no staff cuts are planned.
Somsak Khaosuwan, the former acting chairman of TOT, initially will serve as acting CEO of National Telecom. The company plans to boost earnings in the short term by capturing demand from public-sector agencies to introduce 5G networks.
TOT and CAT once controlled monopolies over domestic and international telephone services, respectively. That changed in the mid-2000s when Thailand opened the telecom market for competition from privately owned actors.
Since then, earnings at both companies have suffered, and their combined share of Thailand's mobile communications market apparently hovers around 2% to 3%, according to a local research firm.
The idea of a merger has been floated since the 1990s, but the move had been postponed repeatedly. This integration was scheduled for July 2020 before being put off due to the coronavirus epidemic and delays in clerical work.