Telenor stressed it will stay in the Thai market after the proposed merger between Total Access Communications (DTAC) and True Corporation, with future plans to transform the merged entity into a telecoms technology company to tap into new growth verticals.
Telenor Group president and CEO Sigve Brekke (pictured) commented at a press conference on a question regarding speculation on Telenor’s exit post-merger - it is the majority shareholder in DTAC. The chief executive explained the merged company will turn into a technology focus company by tapping into 5G, IoT and AI together.
"Telenor is not going to leave Thailand. A lot of people have been wondering that. We entered Thailand two decades ago with a vision that all Thais should have access to cell phones. That's what we called the growth 1.0 model. Growth 2.0 I call a perfect storm of technologies -- 5G, AI, and IoT -- that are coming together," Brekke, reported Bangkok Post.
Brekke also tipped the merger between DTAC and True will gain regulatory approval this month, he said the merger has a “very good case” in regards to spurring competition against dominant market leader AIS.
Bangkok Post reported the merger will result in an operator with a subscriber base of around 50 million, six million more than AIS’ base.
"We are optimistic this will go through. I look at it from two angles -- one is the competitors of AIS [Advanced Info Service], True and DTAC are the big global companies, not local players. The definition of competition in the telecom sector needs to be expanded.
"The other angle is real competition happens when strong players compete. That's why if one player is too strong and there are two weak players, that's not real competition," said Brekke.
The chief executive conceded the merger is necessary as Telenor underinvested in network modernisation and spectrum in the last few years, leaving it behind AIS.
Telenor is close to wrapping up another merger in Malaysia between its unit Digi and Axiata’s Celcom.