Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) I-Mobile Plus, a subsidiary of Samart Corporation, has been awarded a five-year contract by state telco TOT for exclusive rights to 40% of 3G network capacity to be resold to end-users under TOT’s new business model. As reported by the Bangkok Post, TOT board chairman Panthep Chamrasromran announced that I-Mobile Plus must pay TOT a guaranteed minimum revenue of THB156 million (USD4.9 million) for the first year and THB476 million for the second, and the MVNO is targeting 860,000 3G subscribers in the first year of operations and 1.81 million in the second year. Previously, Samart I-Mobile (I-Mobile 3GX’) was amongst a group of five MVNOs reselling 3G services over TOT’s HSPA network under one-year contracts, alongside Loxley (i-kool), IEC Technology (IEC 3G), 365 Communication (365 3G) and M Consult Asia (Mojo 3G).
Mr Panthep confirmed TOT is also in talks with Loxley to retail 20% of 3G network capacity, while for the remaining 40% of capacity, he said that TOT would not require a guaranteed minimum revenue; prospective MVNOs for this portion include IEC Technology, 365 Communication, M Consult Asia, Acumen and Jasmine Telecom Systems.
Panthep also said TOT aims to increase its number of 3G base stations from a current 2,300 to 5,320 in October. TOT has site sharing agreements with Advanced Info Service (AIS) covering 800 base stations, and an additional 300 shared sites agreed with True Move. TOT’s board will discuss a second phase of 3G network expansion on 26 July.