TOT Plc plans an overhaul of its new third-generation (3G) partnership contract with Samart Corporation after a state financial audit agency cast doubt on benefits to the state telecom enterprise.
TOT initially planned to sign a new contract last month with Samart I-Mobile Plc (SIM), the handset flagship and 3G arm of Samart, to provide 3G mobile service under a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) model on behalf of the state enterprise.
TOT president Yongyuth Wattanasin said the postponement came after the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) suggested the contract would likely place TOT at a major disadvantage.
An MVNO is a company that provides service but does not have its own mobile network.
In recent years, TOT has awarded five companies including Samart the right to resell 3G service over the state enterprise's high-speed packet access network under one-year contracts. It wanted to grant a longer-term contract to SIM in a drive to boost its 3G sales.
SIM has the highest number of MVNO subscribers and expects 600,000 customers this year. TOT planned to award a 12-year MVNO contract to SIM under a possible 46:54 revenue-sharing agreement.
Mr Yongyuth admitted TOT needs to go back to the contract details again as required by the OAG.
"We may need to put off signing the contract now that a revision of the contract is required," he said.
TOT plans to spend 30 billion baht to install 13,000 to 15,000 3G base stations in the second phase.
The enterprise preferred to allow its MVNO to operate under a partnership model in order to ease its financial constraints.
Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, the information and communication technology minister, said he supports the partnership model for the second phase of TOT's 3G project.