& cplSiteName &

Thai Telco Plans FTTx Rollout

Catherine Haslam
News Analysis
Catherine Haslam

The executive committee of state-owned Thai carrier CAT Telecom Public Co. Ltd. has approved plans to build a 6 billion Thai Baht ($177 million) fiber access broadband network, according to a report in The Nation.

CAT's move is the latest in a series of fiber access (FTTx) plans in Asia/Pacific that includes national broadband network developments in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea. (See Australia Unveils $31B FTTP Plan, Asian Broadband CEOs: Invest in Us!, Telekom Malaysia CEO Talks FTTx, IPTV, and Singapore Makes FTTH Strides .)

CAT's plans are small by comparison -- the other projects are valued at $30.7 billion, $3.2 billion, $4 billion, and $24.6 billion respectively -- but reflect the momentum growing behind fiber-based broadband projects by government-linked telcos in the region's major markets. (See China Set for DSL, FTTH Boom and BSNL Begins FTTH Rollout.)

CAT's proposed next-generation broadband network would initially target 300,000 subscribers in a country that has more than 18 million households, according to Economist Intelligence Unit estimates for 2009.

Services are expected to be launched in 2010 and will be offered at THB1,000 ($29.40), according to The Nation. This is a competitive proposition that compares favorably to alternative fixed broadband services from competitors TOT Public Co. Ltd. , which charges the same price for 1-Mbit/s DSL access, and True Corp. plc , which dominates the Bangkok broadband market. True has recently launched a promotion offering two months' free trial of a 12-Mbit/s service to customers currently using its 8-Mbit/s service, which costs THB1,119 per month ($32.91).

However, CAT faces a number of challenges before it can start building its new network. Firstly, it needs to gain approval from the National Economic and Social Development Board, followed by the Cabinet, according to a company source cited in the newspaper report.

Secondly, it needs to get the go-ahead from Thailand's respective electricity boards, as CAT intends to hang its fiber from electricity poles rather than dig trenches.

Graham Finnie, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, says there's a sound economic reason for this overhead approach. "It can cut the cost by at least half, if not more. In a country like Thailand, where the ARPU [average revenue per user] is going to be comparatively low, that's important."

There are few downsides to such deployments, although they can be more prone to weather damage, adds Finnie.

However, the report in The Nation suggests CAT's plans could be scuppered by objections from the Metropolitan Electricity and Provincial Electricity Authorities. Finnie is less cautious, saying there's little reason for utilities such as these to block fiber rollouts.

"Fiber optic cables are passive, and therefore don't interfere with electricity supplies. In fact many utilities around the world are rolling out their own fiber with electricity supplies," says the Heavy Reading man. However, he does concede that utilities could be concerned about giving access to their poles to a third party.

CAT is one of Thailand's two state-owned telcos, but since its creation in 2003 has failed to make a major impact on either the mobile or fixed consumer markets. The majority of its THB47.6 billion ($1.4 billion) annual revenues come from its long-distance services, and revenue-sharing agreements with other operators that lease equipment from CAT, such as True.

Ramping up its direct service revenues from fixed broadband is one of two priority growth areas identified by the company in its 2007 Annual Report, the latest that has been published. The other is building CAT's mobile business. Therefore, it's no surprise that The Nation also reports that CAT's board is calling for renewed discussions with Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia Ltd. , with a view to merging the two operator's CDMA networks.

At the end of the second quarter, CAT had 228,586 mobile subscribers and Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia had 1,052,195, according to Wireless Intelligence . It is a complicated relationship, as Hutchison CAT is a joint venture (JV) between the two companies, but the JV leases its network from BFTK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. (NYSE: HTX)

Both operators are growing but aren't making inroads into the market share of Thailand's top three mobile service providers, Advanced Info Service plc (AIS) , Total Access Communication plc , and TrueMove, which have 27,581,800, 18,945,227, and 15,004,000 subscribers respectively. A consolidated CDMA operator could provide a stronger proposition in the face of hostile economic conditions. (See Asia Minnows Face Cash Crunch .)

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Turkcell Challenges Turkey's Current TV Market

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Baris Zavaroglu, TV and rntertainment business director of Turkcell, explains Turkcell's strategy in elevating the small and uncertain TV market in Turkey.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Altibox’s Infrastructure Synergy Strategy Reduces Deployment Costs

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Thomas Skjelbred, CEO of Altibox, on how to improve efficiency and reduce deployment coast through infrastructure synergy in Norway.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Ismail Butun on the Changing Role of Turkcell

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Ismail Butun, chief marketing officer of Turkcell, explains the importance of video and mobile services for the future of the company.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IDC's Emir Halilovic on Trends of Cloudification

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Emir Halilovic of IDC CEMA discusses the future and direction of cloudification. Also, the all-cloud approach taken by Huawei and others in the industry.
LRTV Custom TV
How Intel Is Powering the 5G Era

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading tours a series of 5G "super demos" so see how Intel envisions the 5G-connected future. We take a look at a prototype connected BMW, a light pole with environmental sensors that provides 5G wireless to a smart home and a fully untethered virtual reality experience.
LRTV Custom TV
Source Photonics CEO Doug Wright Talks About the Future of Source Photonics

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Source Photonics' CEO, Doug Wright, talks to Light Reading about how the company is continuously investing in its operations to meet not only its customers' current technology demands but also to deliver their next-generation technology needs.
LRTV Custom TV
Live Demo: DevOps in Service Chains & 5G Network Slices PoC

3|29|17   |     |   (0) comments

Executives from PoC collaborating companies – Patrick Waldemar, VP and Head of Technology at Telenor Research, John Healy, VP of the Datacenter Network Solutions Group at Intel, Vincent Spinelli, SVP of Global Sales and Marketing at RIFT.io, Mats Eriksson, CEO and co-founder of Arctos Labs, and Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds – review ...
LRTV Documentaries
The Year of Fat & Skinny Bundles

3|29|17   |   21:06   |   (0) comments

In this fireside chat, Roku's Andrew Ferrone predicts that 2017 will be the year of multichannel OTT video bundles and spells out other trends in the OTT and pay-TV markets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
BBWF 2016: Orange Poland's Next-Gen Central Office

3|28|17   |     |   (0) comments

Introduction to Orange Poland's legacy next-generation central office solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Viavi at OFC 2017

3|28|17   |   4:15   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Editor-in-Chief Craig Matsumoto reports from the Viavi booth at OFC and gets an update on the 400G testing market from Tom Fawcett, VP and GM of LAB & Production. At this year's event, Viavi won three awards from Lightwave magazine and showcased an interoperability demo with Ethernet Alliance and Finisar.
LRTV Custom TV
Connecting the Entire Home With DOCSIS 3.1

3|28|17   |   3:58:   |   (0) comments

Hitron Technologies had the first cable modem certified for DOCSIS 3.1 and already has over 120,000 units in the field. Greg Fisher, CTO of Hitron, provides an update on his company's rollout of new gateways and why he thinks DOCSIS 3.1 will continue to drive value for operators into 2017 and beyond.
LRTV Interviews
Amazon Prime's Hand of God Creator on Producing for OTT

3|28|17   |     |   (1) comment

Ben Watkins is the creator, writer and producer of Hand of God, a series on Amazon Prime. At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen conference in Denver, he explained the advantages of producing for an OTT platform versus traditional TV.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Unlocking China's $194B Telecom Market
Robert Clark, 3/27/2017
Ericsson Tightens Focus, Warns of $1.7B Q1 Hit
Iain Morris, News Editor, 3/28/2017
Welcome to the Wild West of Privacy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Working From Home Doesn't Work for Everyone Click Here
You shouldn't nap on your keyboard, for instance.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.