Thai telco to invest big in 4G network

Thai telco to invest big in 4G network

BANGKOK - After three straight years of losses, True Corp., the telecommunications arm of the Charoen Pokphand Group, in 2014 moved back into the black.

True in September sold an 18 per cent stake to Chinese carrier China Mobile and took other recapitalization measures. The moves helped it pay down debt and markedly decrease its interest payments. In the fourth quarter alone, net interest expenses dropped 71 per cent year on year.

For the full year, the company logged a net profit of 1.37 billion baht (US$42 million), compared to a net loss of 9.14 billion baht the previous year. "2014 marked a turnaround year for True Group," the company said in a statement.

Going forward, the company is earmarking 32 billion baht for capital expenditures, up 16 per cent from 27.5 billion baht last year.

A large chunk, 18 billion baht, will be allocated to True Mobile, Thailand's third largest cellphone service provider.

True Mobile's fourth generation network will be expanded to boost coverage to 80 per cent of the Thai population by the second quarter of the year.

The carrier will also improve its 3G services, which covers 97 per cent of the population, it said.

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