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McClatchy-Tribune  02/25/2014 12:01 AM ET
Samart JVs beef up Asean ICT market [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]

Feb. 25--Samart Corporation has entered into a joint venture with two local telecom firms to beef up its information and communications technology (ICT) business in Asean markets.

SLA Asia Co, a joint venture between Samart Telcoms, a subsidiary of Samart Corporation, Loxley and Advanced Information Technology (AIT), with a registered capital of 30 million baht, expects revenue of 1 billion baht in its first year of operation.

Watchai Vilailuck, the president of Samart Corporation, said the alliance is aimed to strengthen the three companies' core competencies and strengths to penetrate the Asean market capitalising on the rapidly growing number of telecom infrastructure projects in the region.

"We position ourselves as an integrated ICT service provider. Myanmar is our key target to tap into due to its highest business opportunity," Mr Watchai said.

Target customers are Thai companies operating banks, telecommunications firms, and the state's infrastructure development projects.

Samart, through its flagship Samart I-Mobile, sells handsets in Laos and provides call centre services in Cambodia and Myanmar. AIT provides ICT solutions in Cambodia with a local partner. And Loxley operates non-telecom businesses in Indochina.

Mr Watchai said Samart has strong expertise in telecom networking products, while AIT is good at internet protocol-based or optical fibre products, and Loxley is keen on trading telecoms and satellite equipment.

Chalermchoke Lamsam, a senior executive vice-president of Loxley, said the company is confident of achieving the 1-billion-baht revenue target, helped by the three companies' collaboration and resources.

"We plan to join forces with local partners in the countries we plan to enter," he said, adding that similar investment culture means no distinctions in management and operation.

Mr Chamlermchoke said trade volume between Thailand and Myanmar was valued at 200 billion baht last year, fuelled largely by telecom-related products and services.

"Wireless broadband service looks set to be the fastest growing sector in the near future," he said.

AIT chief executive Siripong Oontornpan said his company will initially focus on the promising telecoms market in the region.

He said that competition in the regional market has intensified due to the influx of many companies from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe.

In another development, Loxley last week signed a 500-million-baht contract with TV Channel 5 of the Royal Thai Army to install a digital television multiplex broadcast system for the army-run station channel.

State TV enterprises including MCOT, Channel 5, Channel 11 and Thai PBS obtained licences from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to supply digital TV network providers.

Mr Chalermchoke said Loxley expects to complete the installation of the multiplex digital network in April, as required by the contract.


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