TOT takes over the remaining customers from the MVNO 365-3GWritten by Allan T. Rasmussen
The company 365 Communications Co., Ltd., a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and provider of 3G service in Thailand, under the brand “365-3G” has declined to renew the contract that runs out October 10, with its host operator TOT Public Company Limited.
Instead TOT will step in and provide service to the existing 365-3G customers via its TOT3G service. Current 365-3G customers are encouraged to contact the TOT Call Center 1777 from today for more information, including special bonus and transfer of current balance to new SIM.
365-3G was one of the first five MVNOs in Thailand, operating under an agreement with state-run TOT Public Company Limited providing MVNO services in the country’s capital and it is estimated to have around 10,000 active users.
Delay and legal actions
It has been a long uphill battle for the first five MVNO’s in Thailand to establish a viable business. In 2009 TOT signed contracts with five companies: Samart i-Mobile, Loxley, IEC3G, 365 Communication and M Consult to provide 3G service having only 548 base stations ready in Bangkok and the surrounding areas
In 2011 only 1,000 base stations was ready for service. In total TOT was supposed to install 5,200 3G base-stations during phase one, but installation has been delayed several times due to the state enterprise's failure to find locations for mobile towers. Construction work was initially required to be completed early 2012, but so far (as of 2013) only 4,900 base-stations have been installed. TOT’s second phase involves installation of an additional 8,000 3G base stations.
In December, 2011, 365 Communication, filed a complaint against four members of TOT Plc's 3G broadband committee with the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), accusing them of breaching the criminal law, citing unfair contracts when it learned that its contract with TOT had clauses that gave the largest MVNO a cost advantage over it in terms of rental capacities.
TOT’s board was aware of the issue and in response initiated new contracts that was fair to all the MVNOs.
Flirting with CAT
Kitisak Sriprasert, CEO at CAT Telecom, Thailand’s second state-run operator, announced in July this year, that 365 Communication was one of a handful of companies who had approached CAT Telecom to become MVNO on its 3G service. "365 Communication and M Link were the first two companies to approach us, and deals with them are expected to be finalized this year".
According to CAT Telecom, 365 Communication was planning to provide a service for up to 300,000 users, and pay CAT Telecom THB 300 million ($10 million) a year under the new deal.
A warning sign
Earlier this month IEC announced it was looking to offload its MVNO business, and was inviting interested parties to bid for the company’s Mobile Network Operator, IEC3G.
Although both MVNO’s are small in size of subscribers and won’t affect the bottom-line directly at TOT it does raise a flag for TOT who needs MVNO partners in order to survive, in its new role as network provider.
- Company: 365 Communications.
- Host Network Operator: TOT.
- Network: TOT3G 2100 MHz network.
- Roaming on: TOT 1900 MHz nationwide networks.
- > 10,000 active subscribers.
- In talks with CAT Telecom on new setup.
- Initial target customers: Senior students, first jobbers, young executives and social networking communities.
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