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New unit focuses overseas

Telecom expands into mobile virtual network operations

Published on December 6, 2007

Samart i-Mobile (SiM) has established a wholly owned subsidiary, i-Mobile Net Plus, to foray into mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services overseas.

Watchai Vilailuck, president of SiM parent Samart Corp, said this week i-Mobile Net Plus was already offering MVNO services on a trial basis in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau and China.

MVNOs lease a cellular network from a telecoms operator and in turn sell their own cellular services and after-sales services.

Watchai said i-Mobile Net Plus was applying for MVNO licences from regulators in these locations in preparation for a full-service launch.

i-Mobile Net Plus has introduced an international budget-call service for Thailand residents travelling to these Asian destinations frequently.

It buys bulk airtime from cellular operators in the four markets, and SIM cards for distribution in Thailand. The SIM cards enable travellers from this country to make low-cost calls home. Rates have yet to be finalised.

Samart sells handsets and mobile content and is involved in the building of state information-technology infrastructure, and power generation.

Watchai said next year SiM would expand handset retail stores to 400, from the present 300. Greater mobile content will be available, boosting revenue.

He forecast profit from mobile content would account for 20 per cent of overall profit at SiM this year.

Sales of SiM brand i-Mobile phones in the domestic and overseas markets are expected to reach 5.6 million units next year, up from a forecast 3.2 million this year.

"We'll spend Bt600 million next year on marketing i-Mobile phones, of which 40 per cent will be for further promoting the brand overseas. The total marketing budget for i-Mobile phones this year is Bt400 million," he added.

 Usanee Mongkolporn

 The Nation


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