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Thailand clears merger of state-owned telcos CAT, TOT

The government of Thailand has greenlit the proposed merger of state-owned wireless carriers CAT Telecom PCL and TOT PCL, Reuters reported.

The resulting entity from the merger, to be called National Telecom, will participate in the upcoming 5G spectrum auctions and compete against private mobile operators. While they have not yet confirmed their participation in the auctions, private telcos Advanced Info Service PCL, True Corp. and Total Access Communication PCL have already secured the necessary bidding documents.

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will offer 5G frequencies across four spectrum bands in an auction set for Feb. 16. The telecom regulator will auction off licenses for the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 2,600 MHz and 26 GHz bands.

Narumon Pinyosinwat, a spokesperson for the Thai government, said the National Telecom will help promote local policies in digital infrastructure and provide services to the public. Thailand's Digital Economy and Society Ministry will oversee the merged entity.

The merger is expected to be completed in the next six months.