The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – the administration which has assumed power in Thailand following the recent military coup – is considering reviving previous governments’ plans to merge sister state-owned telcos TOT and CAT Telecom, the Bangkok Post reported. ICT permanent secretary Surachai Srisarakam disclosed that the NCPO has appointed the ICT ministry to study the feasibility of the consolidation proposal, particularly legal angles. A proposal was tabled at a meeting with the NCPO last week under which the telecoms network assets of TOT and CAT would be merged and a new company established after dissolving both enterprises, in a similar vein to plans mooted-then-scrapped by successive governments over the past decade. TOT president Yongyuth Wattanasin chipped in that he supports the proposal, although acknowledged that it will face a number of obstacles, particularly related to the valuation of TOT/CAT assets and their differing liabilities such as concession expiry periods.
In the wake of the Thai coup d’etat, the NCPO was established when the military declared martial law on 20 May in an attempt to stop the country’s escalating political crisis. On 22 May the military deposed the government and the NCPO became the ruling body of Thailand. The junta censored broadcasters, repealed the constitution and arrested members of the cabinet.