DTAC plans to invest 7-8 billion baht in network next year

Telenor’s mobile phone operation in Thailand, Total Access Communication (DTAC), said it plans to spend 7-8 billion baht next year on capital expenditure to expand its network.
     According to DTAC’s Norwegian co-chief executive officer Sigve Brekke, the company plans to improve network quality in 20 major provinces and expand network coverage across the country. It will also spend on the rollout of EDGE – the 2.5G technology that allows faster transmission rates on regular mobile networks – to serve the high-speed data solution needs of high-end customers.
     “With the improvement in our financial standing, we can spend more on capital expenditure,” Brekke said at a press conference on November 15.
     DTAC reported a third-quarter net profit of 1 billion baht, about twice as much as last year’s 502 million baht due to a larger subscriber base and rising revenues. The earnings were down four percent from the second quarter due to higher corporate tax.
     In the first nine months of 2004, the company made a profit of 3.4 billion baht, more than doubling the 1.48 billion baht a year ago.
     Owned 29.94 percent by Telenor ASA of Norway, DTAC is the second-largest mobile phone firm in the Thailand. It holds 30 percent of share the Thai market, with 7.64 million subscribers at the end of September 2004. The number of subscribers was 6.25 million the same month a year ago.
     Brekke said the company is on its way to achieve its target of adding 1 million new subscribers this year.
     The country’s number one operator, Advanced Info Service, has around 14.8 million subscribers or a 60 percent market share.
     Brekke said the Thai mobile phone market is far from being saturated, with potential new subscribers estimated at 8-9 million in the next three to four years, and DTAC expects to get one-third of them.
     “The market will continue to growth in terms of subscribers and revenues,” he said.

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