AIS to buy Thai broadband player TTTBB

AIS to buy Thai broadband player TTTBB

Solidifies itself as the second-largest fixed broadband provider.

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AIS, Thailand’s largest mobile network operator, is set to acquire broadband operator Triple T Broadband (TTTBB), as well as part of an investment fund linked to TTTBB, via a subsidiary.

The total price, of 32.4 billion Baht, exceeds US$900 million at current exchange rates.

Advanced Wireless Network, an AIS subsidiary, will buy TTTBB from Acumen, which itself is a subsidiary of Jasmine International.

TTTBB has two businesses - Triple T Internet and Incloud.

Also being acquired is about 19 percent of the investment units in Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund (JASIF), which invests in fibre cables that are managed by TTTBB.

The acquisitions, to be funded using existing debt provisions, are subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. These are anticipated in the first quarter of 2023.

In a financial filing [pdf], AIS’ chief financial officer Tee Seeumpornroj said the acquisitions “will enhance consumer access to a broader and better quality of service by improving broadband inclusion in new areas targeting the upcountry and non-city areas.”

“This aligns with our business direction to grow the broadband business and effectively develop the nation’s fibre infrastructure,” Seeumpornroj said.

“A combined fibre network will support effective sharing that reduces unnecessary fibre network duplication and its environmental impact.

Fitch Ratings said the purchases are “in line with [AIS’s] pursuit of a sustainable competitive position and profitable growth in Thailand’s telecom sector amid a slowing mobile business.”

“The acquisition is aligned with AIS's strategy to boost its fixed-mobile convergence capabilities, allowing it to diversify its mobile business to other telecom services, such as television, broadband and wireless, and strengthen its business profile,” the credit rating agency said in a statement.

“We expect the revenue contribution from the broadband business to reach around 18 percent post-acquisition, from six percent currently. 

“The deal will also solidify AIS’s market position as Thailand’s second-largest fixed broadband operator, raising its broadband market share to 35 percent, from 15 percent in Q1 22; this is close to the 38 percent share of the largest operator, True Corporation Public Company. 

“TTTBB will also provide AIS with access to upcountry broadband markets, where AIS has limited network coverage, and enhance its established position in the urban market.”

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