AIS to acquire stakes in two internet service providers
Advanced Info Service Plc (AIS) has announced its decision to acquire Triple T Broadband Plc (TTTBB) and invest in the Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund (JASIF) for a total of 32.4 billion baht, to expand its internet service offering in Thailand, especially in upcountry provinces.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has been notified of the acquisition and investment plan.
Through its subsidiary, Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), AIS has agreed to buy 7.5 billion shares (99.87%) of TTTBB from Acumen (ACU), a subsidiary of Jasmine International Plc (JAS), which includes the acquisition of two other subsidiaries of JAS, Triple T and Incloud. The deal is worth 19.5 billion baht.
The other deal is the acquisition of 1.52 billion units in JASIF, or 19% of all the investment units, worth about 12.9 billion baht.
AIS chief executive officer Somchai Lertsutiwong said yesterday that this investment marks an important step in the company’s business strategy to expand into home internet service provision and to become a complete digital technology service provider.
He also said that the deal will enable AIS to expand internet broadband service provision, through fibre optic cables, to a wider customer base so that more people will get access to the internet, especially those living in rural areas, adding that this will also reduce the need to lay new cables, which would be a duplication of infrastructure.
Somchai said that the AWN will seek permission from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission for the acquisition of the stakes in the two internet service providers, after which contracts for the share and unit acquisitions will be signed, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.
AIS Fibre now has 1.9 million customers, whereas TTTBB has 3.6 million customers. The deals will expand its customer base to 5.5 million, which exceeds the 4.7 million of True Online, the other internet service provider.
This latest move by AIS into broadband internet service provision will counter-balance the planned merger between True Corporation and Total Access Communications (DTAC) which, if the deal goes through, will increase the customer base to 51.3 million mobile phone users, compared to the 43.7 million of the current market leader, AIS.