Thailand’s AIS has agreed to a ten-year tower leaseback arrangement with state-run operator TOT in a move which resolves an ownership dispute dating back to 2014.
Under the terms of a 25-year concession that allowed AIS to use TOT’s 2G spectrum, the former was obliged over the course of the contract to sign over ownership of its towers to TOT, reports the Bangkok Post.
By the end of 2014, AIS had transferred around 11,000 of its total 13,000 towers but withheld the remainder after raising queries over the terms of the deal – which resulted in the case going to arbitration. Since the dispute remained unresolved when the concession expired in 2015, TOT allowed AIS temporary use of the towers in exchange for a THB300 million monthly service fee.
The new agreement, worth 28 billion baht, will see AIS use TOT’s telecom towers in exchange for the state operator using AIS’ space and maintenance services over the course of ten years.
TOT president Monchai Noosong described the deal as “win-win”, while AIS added that the agreement “allows both parties to fairly make long-term use of the towers in supporting its telecommunications service, as well as for TOT to secure revenue from tower rental on an appropriate term considering its actual and potential use”.