August 1, 2008

Triple T Optimistic About International Call Service

By Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn, Bangkok Post, Thailand

Jul. 31--Triple T GlobalNet, the international internet gateway arm of TT&T Plc, is upbeat about prospects for its new international direct dialling (IDD) business despite intense competition from internet protocol-based international calls.

Siripong Poongthaisong, head of data and content business of TT&T, said Triple T GlobalNet projected IDD revenue of 60 million baht in the first six months of its operations this year out of an expected total market value of 10 billion baht this year.

"We expect the figure to grow by at least 30 percent to 100 million baht in 2009 while the industry growth would continue to drop by 10 percent," he said.

Thailand's IDD market, dominated by the state telecom enterprise CAT Telecom, was worth 12 billion baht in 2006 and was estimated to have declined to 11 billion last year.

Forty percent of total IDD traffic is now on mobile phones.

Triple T GlobalNet received an IDD licence from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to provide services under the 102 prefix.

Mr Siripong said the local IDD market had been hit by intense competition from voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and calling card services due to their much cheaper rates.

At present, TT&T has 1.2 million fixed-line customers in the provinces, of whom 40,000 made international calls through fixed-line phones.

Mr Siripong said Triple T GlobalNet planned to spend 30 million baht this year to build its own international gateways and provide IDD services on time division multiplexing (TDM) technology for customers who wanted premium voice quality.

The company currently rents network from a local system integrator to provide IDD services.

He acknowledged that even though the company offered competitive flat-rate IDD rates, the limit number of the parent TT&T's payment shops was the key barrier to expansion.

Mr Siripong said Triple T was urging the NTC to press the big mobile operators AIS, DTAC and True Move to open the local IDD market.

The move would offer an alternative for fixed-line and mobile users to make overseas calls from any phone systems.

Mobile operators have rejected Triple T's offer of 1.50 baht a minute as the originating rate for international calls made from a mobile network on a fixed-line number.


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