Thai telecom tie-up rings monopoly alarm bells

BANGKOK – Thailand’s CP Group and Norway’s Telenor confirmed Monday that they had agreed to explore the creation of a joint telecom-tech company fusing their respective Thai telecom affiliates – True and DTAC – on an “equal ownership” basis, ending months of market rumors that a deal was afoot.

“The new company will be based on the principle of equal ownership,” said Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group and the former CEO of Total Access Communication Plc (DTAC), 65% owned by Telenor and one of three mobile phone services operating in Thailand for the past two decades.

The other two mobile phone service providers are Total Access Communication (AIS), currently owned by Thailand’s Gulf Energy Development Company, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and Temasek Holding. True Corporation is 50% owned by the CP Group – Thailand’s largest agro-conglomerate with vast holdings in retail and other sectors – and 18% by China’s state-owned China Mobile.

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