September 21, 2012
Thai state-owned enterprise CAT Telecom has signaled its intention to expand into Laos ahead of the setting up of the Asean Economic Community in 2015. The Thai telco yesterday teamed up with Laos’ state-owned ETL to host a seminar titled ETL-CAT Network Showcase 2012 in Vientiane, giving a strong indication of its interest in the Lao market.
CAT announced earlier this year that it wanted to purchase a share in ETL as part of attempts to expand within Asean. The regional grouping is aiming to establish a single market and production base. CAT also wants to expand into Myanmar after learning of the huge business potential in the neighbouring nation.
The Lao government planned to sell 30 percent of its shares in ETL to the public last year but postponed the decision due to internal and external stock market conditions. It is still unclear when ETL will issue the IPO enabling local and foreign investors to subscribe.
CAT said it would invest 20 million baht to expand its fibre-optic link between Nakhon Phanom province in Thailand and Khammuan province in Laos, and from Kanchanaburi province to Dawei in Myanmar.
At the seminar, CAT representatives presented the latest IT and telecoms technology used on the Thai network, which they want to transfer to potential Lao business partners. They said improved IT and telecoms infrastructure would boost the growth of business operations in Laos.
Banking and the management of businesses would become much easier if IT and telecoms infrastructure is modernised, CAT staff said. They pointed out that managers could do their work while on the move thanks to improved IT and telecoms services.
“You no longer have to wait for a long time at a bank to check the balance on your account. Now you can use your mobile phone to check it,” one of the Thai lecturers said.
Lao ministry and telecom officials attended the seminar. They not only learned about Cloud Solution Deployment and ETL’s Data Centre, but also saw a demonstration of video conferencing using modern IT and telecom equipment.
In March, CAT joined forces with Lao Telecom to host a similar seminar and agreed to provide more service options to customers by opening an international leased line by Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) via Lao Telecom and the CAT network.
The network connects along common borders between countries, and provides services that link business headquarters with their branches as well as overseas partners via the Multi Protocol Label Switching. This system was created to respond to the increasing demand for international communication.
Competition in the telecom sector in Laos is growing now that all four telecom operators offer a number of service options. The four operators are Lao Telecom, ETL, Unitel and Beeline.
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