Samart i-mobile signs MVNO agreement with CAT Telecom

MVNO i-mobile moves from TOT to CAT Telecom

Samart i-mobile Public Company Limited (SIM) has signed a MVNO wholesale agreement with Thailand’s second state telecom operator CAT Telecom to resell mobile phone services to end-users.

Under the terms of the agreement, Samart i-mobile is obliged to pay minimum wholesale service fees at a stipulated rate to CAT Telecom and the contracts runs until 3 August 2025.

i-mobile was one of the first five MVNO’s to launch in Thailand on TOT’s 3G 2100MHz network back in 2009. Back in September 2013 the MVNO claimed 329,000 subscribers.

However given the mandatory SIM registration in Thailand earlier this year they have lost most of them again, as the SIM registration showed the two state telecom operators: CAT Telecom and TOT, as well as i-mobile and the other MVNOs – Mojo 3G, 168 Communication, i-Kool 3G, TuneTalk and Tron IEC3G only managed to scrape together 100,000 subscribers – combined!

The move marks yet another loss for TOT and gain for CAT Telecom. Both state-enterprises are in a turnaround vacuum, but while TOT hasn’t manage to do anything, sign any contracts, make changes or even appoint a president – CAT Telecom on the other hand, has been busy, claiming to have signed up with a handful of MVNOs including 168 Communication (another former TOT MVNO), Tesco Mobile and NTT Communications.

Both state-enterprises are in desperate need of profit making business and MVNOs is seen as the savior, since both CAT Telecom and TOT are failing in reaching end-users.

However, the market has so far only witnessed failure from the current MVNO setup, due to insufficient network capacity at launch, insufficient MVNO experience and quality, poorly negotiated MVNO contracts, poor planning and execution as well as legacy systems and red tape at the operators.

The contract between Samart i-mobile and CAT Telecom was signed October 22, 2015 and the service is expected to launch in January 2016.

Samart i-mobile says the deal will help the company provide more and better MVNO services to cover all target groups. It will push market activity and manage distribution channels in order to expand and meet goals.

Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan is a MVNA/MVNE/MVNO specialist with hands-on experience from more than 60 projects in both competitive and greenfield markets. His expertise includes business case development, execution, launch and growth strategies. Advisor and consultant to mobile network operators, MVNA, MVNE, MVNO, National Regulatory Authorities, Government Agencies, Broadcast Companies, TMT Industry Associations, Innovation and Investment Banks.
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