Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 35 million customers as of March 2013. Founded in April 1986, AIS started off as a computer rental business. In October 1990, it launched analog 900 MHz mobile phone services with a 20 year monopoly concession from the Telephone Organization of Thailand, and later became the first company allowed to operate on the GSM 900 frequency. Followed by acquiring Shinawatra Paging in June 1992.The highly profitable company is controlled by the Intouch plc , headed by Temasek Holdings, a Singapore government owned agency. AIS is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand on 5 November 1991 . As of 23 December 2011, InTouch plc holds 40.45% of the total shares of the company and Singapore Telecommunications together with Thai Trust Fund and OCBC Nominees holds a 23.32% stake.Temasek bought AIS brand through the 2006 acquisition of the then known - Shin Corporation from the ousted Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.In February 2014, in a conflict opposing and the People's Democratic Reform Committee and the Shinawatra, the PDRC called for a company boycott, wrongly believed to be owned by the Shinawatra family. Wikipedia.

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News Article | June 30, 2014
Site: yourstory.com

In earlier columns on the Communciasia expo in Singapore, we presented photo galleries of some of the booths and hardware products as well as emerging companies and software products from the UK and Australia. In this showcase we will look at companies from Thailand in Southeast Asia, covering mobile payment, marketing, augmented reality, logistics, social media management, digital publishing, and children’s media. Thailand is well known for its creativity and design (and some turbulent politics!), but these startups show that the entrepreneurial drive has spread to the digital domain as well. Many companies have offerings in Thai and English, and are spreading their wings across the region. What is your Thailand strategy – or can you partner with these companies for your local markets? Get My Stamp offers smartphone solutions for managing loyalty cards. You can keep all your loyalty cards on your smartphone, and get them ‘stamped’ directly on your screen. No scanning QR codes or checking in, it works just like a paper card thanks to the company’s innovative yet familiar stamper device. Merchants can offer new kinds of promotions and partnerships for rewards programmes, in a win-win situation for all. Founded in 2010, Khroton helps companies with their online presence and digital marketing in social media and smartphones. They are well suited to work with large companies, and already have a roster of premier clients. The client list spans the private and government sector, and currently includes well-known companies in Thailand such as Advanced Info Service (AIS), Land and Houses PCL, TMB Bank, Toyota Tsusho Electronics, Karmarts and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Founded in 2011, Jorlek is also in the mobile app space and offers web application services, content management, cloud porting and mobile services. The company has come a long way since its first app launch three years ago. Their USP is a blend of ‘technique and emotion,’ and the startup has a growing client base which currently includes United Telecom, LMG Insurance and local police departments. Mayar is a Thai startup in the augmented reality space. It offers solutions in interactive video augmentation and interactive printing solutions as well. It helps brands connect the real and virtual worlds in a seamless manner. It has also devised other mobile solutions such as ITim for digital signage, and plug and play cloud services. From maps to apps, Mayar spans a wide range of GIS offerings through its ArcGIS platform, which also includes QR codes integrated with map locators. Apptividia is a digital media company whose platform Publizh helps companies publish their own e-books and sell them on app stores. The solution includes a cloud integrated service with publisher, designer, and multimedia integrator for distributed workflow. The company also has apps to stream content from digital platforms. Other offerings cover photo books, social media sharing and visualisation techniques. 23 Studio is a digital publisher specialising in child-focused content on web, mobile and apps. Its product names include ‘Tuck Me In Bedtime Stories’ pitched as a real child development application for children aged from two to 12 years. E-learning capabilities are also weaved into the narrative, thus making for a pleasant edutainment experience. Founded in 2009, Toth Media has developed its own tools for social media intelligence and campaign management. Its product KPIology gathers data from all the top ranking Thai social media websites, including 10,000+ Facebook Pages, 200+ Thai Forums and over three million Twitter accounts. Capturing over 10 million items of conversation every day, the platform has a large footprint to track brand impacts and competitor positioning. The Magic Quadrant platform shows more details of a brand’s position versus its competitors in real time on social media. The aptly named WarRoom platform helps deal with competitor moves and customer complaints. Success69 is a software solution designed for the logistics industry and cargo managers. Its software tools and visualisation dashboards help managers with loading containers of different sizes and shapes into shipping spaces of different configurations. The tool also allows calculation of over costing, costing per package, and optimum mix of containers in different delivery channels. Shippers can cut down on amount of unused space, mix different types of cargoes and allow for group loading with multiple customers. NetKA Systems provides intelligent network management solutions for enhancing customers’ business competitiveness. Offerings include carrier-and-enterprise-grade network management software. The company lists 80% of Thailand’s ISPs as its customers. Other target segments are the government sector, and the company also wants to expand to Singapore and Indonesia. The company has won awards as well for its data centre services, virtualisation and cloud platforms. Its manager-friendly interfaces include the NetkaQuartz Service Desk, and it has signed up Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel and IBM as partners. Prompt Now is a company in the space of mobile banking, insurance and healthcare, and is a subsidiary of MFEC Group, Thailand’s largest IT services provider. Prompt Now develops mobile apps, content and even games for leading enterprises and content publishers. Its offerings extend to testing, porting, translation and hosting services. The company is extending its range from smartphones to smart TVs and tablets. Its board of directors includes Shimmy Thomas, VP at MFEC, who was earlier at Sun and DEC; he holds an engineering degree in electronics and communications from Karnataka University in India.


News Article | February 26, 2013
Site: www.zdnet.com

[UPDATE] SINGAPORE--Amobee has inked exclusive partnerships with four telcos in the Asia-Pacific region which can now tap its publisher-side mobile advertising platform to deliver targeted ads. In a statement released Tuesday, the mobile advertising vendor said the Philippines' Globe Telecom, Australia's Optus, Singapore's SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications), and Indonesia's Telkomsel will use its mobile advertising platform, Pulse for Publishers, to deliver "most relevant, high-quality mobile advertising inventory to reach the fast-growing Asian market". It added that Pulse for Publishers allows operators to "enhance mobile inventory with targetable user data", giving better results by reaching the right consumers, at the right time, in the right place, with the right offer. Amobee CEO Trevor Healy said it offered big data capabilities to the mobile advertising space. SingTel's CEO of group digital life, Allen Lew, said in the statement consumers were increasingly turning to mobile to consume content and conduct research for their purchases. "Many of them are also warming up to targeted ads which reflect their interests, connections or locations. This makes the mobile space increasingly relevant for brands and advertisers," Lew noted. He added that Pulse would enable SingTel to extract insights from the vast amount of customer data it has, and deliver better personalized, more relevant and "non-intrusive" ads to its mobile customers. Amobee was acquired by SingTel in March 2012 for US$321 million. The Singapore telco also owns stakes in the other three operators included in this partnership. At a briefing here Tuesday, Healy told reporters the mobile advertising platform was also being implemented for Thailand's Advanced Info Service (AIS), an operator which SingTel also has a stake in. According to Healy,  big data gathered by telcos is a very important piece in mobile advertising. With more data, advertisers will be able to target specific audience and reduce ad wastage, he said. He added that based on mined data from telcos, Amobee offers about 20 different customer categories from which advertisers can choose. These categories include the "social butterfly" who goes out and interacts with friends, business traveler, domestic traveler, luxury buyer, "shopaholic", "sports junkie", and "cocooner" who prefers staying at home. Prior to the acquisition by SingTel, Amobee did not have such detailed information on mobile users and their daily habits. Healy said monetizing big data through mobile advertising was a "big synergy point" for Amobee and SingTel. He is forecasting the Asia-Pacific mobile advertising business to grow at 300 percent in 2013. For Amobee, the region  will become its biggest market by year-end, accounting for 40 percent of its total revenue. In early-2012, Asia-Pacific contributed only about 10 percent of the company's overall revenue, but this grew to 18 to 20 percent by end-2012, he shared. Core markets in Asia-Pacific for Amobee include Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Healy said the company is also eyeing Japan and China and recently set up offices in these two markets. However, he noted that Amobee will needs to better understand the two East Asian markets before expanding its business there. While smartphone advertising currently make up 65 to 70 percent of the company's revenue, Healy said feature phone advertising is also effective as users are happy to receive short message advertising, too. Taking the Philippines as an example, he said text messaging is a popular communication tool as users spend many hours commuting and send text messages to their friends en route to their destination. Healy shared that Amobee's clients in Asia-Pacific include advertisers from the west looking to reach consumers in this region, as well as local conglomerates and companies. While it had started out as a mobile advertising firm, Amobee has since expanded into other advertising venues such as interactive outdoor display boards, e-mail, display boards, and tablets, he added.


News Article | August 13, 2012
Site: www.zdnet.com

Thailand's 3G auction temporarily set for October 2012 will likely go ahead due to the absence of "legitimacy" concerns over organizing committee and 3G demand but minor roadblocks still exist. Singapore-based Lim Chuan Wei, partner at Analysys Mason, noted that the auction will likely be conducted as the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)-- a unified regulator formed last October --has "legitimacy" over the impending auction. He added that none of the NBTC commissioners are nearing the end of their terms, in contrast to its predecessor National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Previously, the Thai supreme court suspended the 2010 auction planned by NTC. The court questioned NTC's authority  "due to the absence of another independent body to regulate broadcasting businesses that were supposed to work together with the NTC in allocating frequencies". Nicole McCormick, senior analyst of telco strategy at Ovum, agreed that the auction will likely proceed this year. "There is considerably more regulatory certainty this time around concerning Thailand's 3G auction. It appears the auction is on track for October 2012, although you can never rule out any last minute moves to delay the auction," she said. Besides the legitimacy of the current commission, Lim said the upcoming expiry of the concessions for telcos True Move and Advanced Info Service (AIS) as well as the increase in concession rates for Total Access Communication (DTAC), means it is in the interest of all the private operators to push for the auction. "Other interested stakeholders on the other hand will find it more difficult to disrupt the auctions," he said. He explained that the state-owned telcos will want to delay the launch of 3G services as the concession revenues from private telcos will drop when traffic is directed to 3G. Currently, private mobile operators are providing services using the assets of state concession owners TOT and CAT Telecom. These private telcos operate on a revenue-sharing basis and will have to return the assets when the concession expires. Govt can no longer delay auction Serene Chan, industry analyst of Asia-Pacific ICT practice at Frost & Sullivan, explained that while Thailand was one of the first countries in the region to talk about deploying 3G services ten years ago, it was delayed due to a number of issues such as the legal provisions governing the auction of 3G spectrum and complications associated with establishing an independent regulator. Now the county is among the last in the Asia-Pacific region to carry out its 3G auction while its neighbors have already launched long-term evolution services , said Chan. Despite the lack of an auction, major operators have gone ahead and launched 3G services due to popular demand from subscribers , she said. "Hence, the government could no longer delay the process any further and they are likely to be experiencing the pressure from the various stakeholders," Chan said. "Delaying the 3G auction any further would only compromise subscribers' experience, quality of service, the range of mobile services that they could enjoy and of course, the increase in revenue that operators could potentially generate." Minor roadblocks ahead Lim noted that for the auction to be formalized, the information memorandum needs to be finalized and published in the Royal Gazette. According to McCormick, the NBTC has clarified a 49 percent direct foreign ownership limit as a pre-qualification for the auction. "We await ratification from the NBTC that all three prospective bidders--AIS, DTAC and True Move---meet this limit but we expect there will be no issues here however," she noted. Lim added that the probability of the foreign dominance law affecting the auction is "quite small" as it would end up with only one bidder in the auction. DTAC and AIS are partly foreign-owned by Norway's Telenor; and Singapore's Temasek Holdings and Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) respectively, while True Move is owned by Thai-base conglomerate True Corp. Chan added that having greater certainty to the government's policies would enable the operators to determine their next move."For example, whether the expiring 2G spectrum would be returned to the state-owned telecom operators or re-allocated for 4G usage to all interested operators," she said, adding that this would impact the operators' decision on the amount of spectrum that they plan to obtain in the upcoming 3G auction. Thai telecom regulator has announced that 45 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum will be divided into nine 5MHz slots for auction. While there were worries this might cause a duopoly with the two larger players, AIS and DTAC, having 20MHz each, Lim said both players have publicly noted that they will be happy with 15 MHz each. Asked if the Thai operators should jump ahead to LTE  due to previous problems with 3G allocation, Lim said that is not an option. "This is not about technology. It is about business," he said. "For LTE to be really efficient, you need to have 2x20MHz lots." "Given the current state of play with respect to spectrum availability, with the exception of DTAC, no other player can deploy LTE efficiently unless NBTC makes available new spectrum," he added.


News Article | May 1, 2012
Site: www.zdnet.com

Thailand has been slow in the rollout of 3G services due to the country's political situation which led to the delay of the 3G spectrum auction, says analyst, who add that interested foreign operators will need to watch out for red tape. Jim Eller, principal analyst of wireless infrastructure at ABI Research, noted that there is "no question" that the delay in the launch of 3G in Thailand has hurt the country's consumers and businesses. While the country has been making do with 2G services, Eller noted that the network capacity limitations of 2G has resulted in a lot of blocked call and bad network quality. "Most of the world has had 3G mobile service for 10 or 12 years already [and] many countries are already launching 4G services. Meanwhile, Thailand is just rolling out 3G service now," Eller said. The delay of Thailand's 3G auction was due to many reasons, he noted, adding that the old telecom regulator National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) "obviously bears much of the blame". In September 2010, an NTC-organized 3G spectrum auction was stopped by a court injunction at the last minute. While the court stated many reasons for the injunction, the bottom line was "just politics as usual", he said. Operators in the country moved ahead last year to introduce 3G into their existing spectrum instead of waiting for an auction of the 2.1GHz 3G spectrum, he noted. For example, DTAC launched its 3G service in the 850MHz band in August 2011 while AIS (Advanced Info Service) has launched 3G services in the 900MHz band. However, these launches were "technically illegal" as the operators did not have licenses for 3G service, said Eller said. State-owned telecommunications companies TOT and CAT have filed for court injunctions against the 3G launches, he added. He added that TOT had a small 3G network in Bangkok in 2010 with plans to expand nationwide but the expansion contract became bogged down in controversy and lawsuits last year. "TrueMove which launched 3G without approval is now in serious trouble because its concession was illegally obtained. The previous government ignored the illegality but the courts have suddenly decided to investigate under the new government," he said. Expiring concessions throw up uncertainty "However, the bigger story is the expiration of the concessions for the existing operators," said Eller. "With their concessions due to expire soon, why would the operators spend money to buy more spectrum?" The concession model requires allows telcos to operate for a share if their income with the TOT or CAT. Operators license the two state owned telco's lines, in return for 20-30 percent of revenues. The principal analyst noted that the Thai government needs to end the old concession model and provide a mechanism for the operators to convert their concessions to a new licensing scheme. According to TelecomAsia, the concessions expire as early as 2013 for TrueMove, and the latest around 2018 for Dtac. 3G licenses won't come cheap This year, the 3G spectrum auction for 2.1GHz spectrum is back on track in the second half of the year, according to the government. Eller noted that it is not clear if the bidding will be intense as it will depend on the auction rules and license conditions which have not been fully defined. "Operators have already launched 3G in other spectrum, so the 2.1 GHz spectrum is less important. Also, everyone is looking forward to 4G in the not-too-distant future," he added. He noted that the auction would generate "a lot less money" than it would have in 2010. However, he noted the licenses will not be cheap as the mobile business is big in Thailand with a lot of money to be made which will be reflected in the bidding. Foreign investors should tread carefully While licenses will not be cheap, neither will it be too expensive for operators to run profitable 3G business, said Eller. He noted it was unlikely to be similar to what European telcos went through in 2000 and 2001, when they went into debt after paying too much for licenses. "A lot of those auction winners eventually gave up their licenses." The situation will not likely happen in Thailand as there are enough licenses and there would not be too many bidders, he added. Commenting on a report that Chinese players are interested in bidding, Eller believes that China Mobile would be involved as it is "flushed with cash and is actively pursuing opportunities around the world". However, restrictions on foreign ownership in Thailand will see China Mobile partner with a local company, he noted. According to John Stefanac, vice president and president of Qualcomm Southeast Asia-Pacific, with Thailand being one of the leading economies of Southeast Asia and having a tech-savvy population makes the country an interesting market from a business point of view for local and foreign firms alike. However, Eller noted that lack of transparency, restriction on foreign ownership and "horror stories" of other foreign companies mean that foreign investors should be "very careful". Stefanac believes that Thailand will make a significant contribution to the overall growth of 3G in this region because of the potential of the market. He added that the company will continue to work with key stakeholders and ecosystem partners to ensure that everyone can reap the benefits that next-generation telephony and high speed wireless broadband will offer.


News Article | January 31, 2013
Site: www.zdnet.com

Intel is looking to ramp up the introduction of Atom-powered smartphones to the market, with the latest in the form of Acer's Liquid C1 smartphone, which was unveiled today. Southeast Asia will be early beneficiaries of the chipmaker's efforts to advance its smartphone plans, given that Thailand has been designated as the launch market for the Liquid C1. A senior Intel executive added he will be "disappointed" if it takes three months for the handset to make its way into many of the region's other markets. Speaking to ZDNet on Thursday, Uday Marty, Intel's managing director for Southeast Asia, acknowledged there have been "ups and downs" since the company revealed its smartphone road map . That said, the chipmaker had made "very solid progress" in 2012 and this was demonstrated with the launch of the first Intel-powered smartphone--the Xolo X900--in India by local phone maker Lava International in April 2012, Marty noted. Today, with its Liquid C1 smartphone--which is powered by Intel's Atom Z240 processor, codenamed "Lexington"--for the Thai market, Acer's announcement marks the ninth smartphone powered by Intel in nine months, he said, adding this showed the company's commitment to the smartphone platform. Acer's Liquid C1 smartphone comes with a 4.3-inch screen with a 2,000mAH battery that touts 9 hours of 3G talk time and an advanced graphics engine with an 8-megapixel camera boasting a burst mode to capture clearer images even with movement. Besides the Atom Z240 processor, which has been optimized for the Android 4.0 operating system (OS), Intel also provided the XMM 6265 modem for HSPA+ connectivity, Marty said. Other smartphones with Intel processors include Lenovo's upcoming K900, Motorola Mobility's Razr i, and Safaricom's Yolo, which was launched in Kenya last Friday . The Atom Z240 processor was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this month, and is targeted at the "value smartphone" market. According to Intel, the new processor brings high performance for quick Web browsing, rich multimedia, and an Android applications experience. Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile and communications group, said the low-power Atom platform enabled it to address new market segments and broaden its expanding portfolio smartphone offerings. Marty said both Intel and Acer chose Thailand to launch the Liquid C1 smartphone because it is a key market with a young mobile user audience. Some 67 million people live in the country, which has an average population age of 34 years, and IDC had predicted 6 million smartphones will be sold in 2012 alone, he noted. The government also recently concluded its 3G spectrum auction , with operators Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (Dtac), and True Move bidding successfully for a license. This is expected to spur operators to promote 3G smartphones to consumers, he added. He revealed that several other Southeast Asian markets will get their hands on the Acer smartphone in the "very near future," but was unable to reveal details on the markets and actual launch dates. "I will be very disappointed if [launches in these markets] do not take place in [the next] three months," he said. Consumers looking out for Intel-based 4G handsets will have to wait a while longer, though. Marty said the "LTE gate" is why markets such as Singapore, which are moving toward 4G long-term evolution (LTE) networks, are not seeing any Intel smartphones, given that its processors do not support the latest wireless technology. He did say Intel has completed validation and will have multiple variants of LTE in the market this year, beginning with single-mode data and followed by multimode data and voice. "We have started silicon shipments for our single-mode data module and will ramp the solution in volume into first-quarter 2013, followed by shipments of multimode data and voice later this year." CEO Paul Otellini said in an earlier analyst call that while Intel is making progress with LTE modems, it does not expect to have an integrated LTE modem and application processor until 2014, reported tech news site EE Times. Otellini said the first mobile phones with Intel-supplied LTE capability were expected to launch early in 2014 during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show.


News Article | February 13, 2013
Site: www.zdnet.com

Thailand is looking at the possibility of holding an auction for 2G spectrum by the third quarter of 2014, as the current contract with state-owned CAT Telecom will wind down this September. According to The Nation's report Wednesday, local operators True Move and Digital Phone Company (DPC), a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS), will be returning their 12.5 megahertz (MHz) of 1800MHz bandwidth each to CAT Telecom once their concessions end later this year. As such, state regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has set up a sub-panel to look into the feasibility of holding the 2G auction next year. The schedule may be pushed back if CAT Telecom wishes to extend its spectrum licenses for another two years based on its existing contract terms, noted Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee, in the report. Settapong added a panel for the auction proceedings will be set up by the middle of this year, should things advance positively. Meanwhile, the sub-panel has also been looking into the actions needed to take to ensure customers of True Move and DPC are not affected should there be a spectrum auction. Among its considerations is expanding the number portability capabilities of all local operators, so that if True Move and DPC customers move to other service providers, their phone numbers remain consistent. The NBTC will finalize the plans for number portability "early next month", the report added. According to The Nation, the current daily limit for number transfer for the five domestic operators is capped at 40,000 numbers.


News Article | November 25, 2013
Site: www.zdnet.com

Thailand's state-owned telco TOT will launch a slew of mobile payment services tap the e-commerce space, as it gets ready for life without concession revenues from private carriers. The service called Just Pay will be rolled out through its subsidiary ACT Mobile by next March targeting public services, according to the Bangkok Post. There will be three products: a mobile wallet, a mobile point of sale and Web-based mobile customer relationship managment (CRM) . These will be supported across various devices such as PCs, smartphones and tablets. Apirak Preechayasomboon, ACT Mobile's acting CEO, expects mobile payments to be the "next big thing" in telecommunications thanks to changing consumer behaviour, the report noted. In 2013, there were 18.39 million credit card holders spending 12 trillion baht (US$375.5 billion) a year, he pointed out in a statement. TOT is facing the imminent end of the revenue stream from its three private telecom concessions, which are held by Advanced Info Service (AIS), True Move, and DTAC. The concessions expire as early as 2013 for True Move, and the latest around 2018 for DTAC. The concession model requires allows private telcos to operate for a share of their income with state-owned TOT or CAT. Operators license the two state owned telcos' lines for a cost of 20-30 percent of revenues. AIS, whose concession will expire in 2015, contributes 20 billion baht (US$626 million) to TOT each year, noted the article.


News Article | February 22, 2013
Site: www.zdnet.com

Thai operator True Move will launch the country's first 4G mobile service this April starting in Bangkok, in a bid to steal a march on its bigger competitors. The third largest mobile operator in Thailand said it plans to roll out 300 4G base stations in central Bangkok, and increase this to 2,000 base stations in 15 major cities later this year, the Bangkok Post reported Friday. Its rivals, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Total Access Communications (TAC), are set to launch their 3G services in April under the new licensing regime, the report noted. Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of True Move's parent company True Corporation, said its 4G move reflected the operator's long-term spectrum management strategy to better serve consumer demand. True Move will also focus on expanding its existing 3G network coverage through its partnership with CAT Telecom, the report said. True's subsidiaries, Real Future and Real Move, signed a contract with CAT in 2011 to provide 3G service on the 850MHz (megahertz) frequency. Suphachai said True Move will have 13,000 3G bases on the 850MHz frequency this year, as well as 5,000 more on the 2.1GHz spectrum. True Move will launch its upcoming 4G service on the 2100MHz frequency. The company was awarded the 2100 MHz band in October last year by the country's regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said an earlier report by Developing Telecoms. Just a day ago, NBTC said it was considering adopting form of group or "package bidding" for future spectrum auctions , which allows bidders to make a single bid for a group of frequencies or licensees. This would encourage fair competition among multiple bidders, Settapong Malisuwan, NBTC chairman said. Current mobile concessions on the 1800MHz and 900MHz spectra are due to expire September this year and September 2015 respectively.


News Article | August 26, 2015
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Thailand’s Advanced Info Service Pcl is poised to end PTT Pcl’s 12-year reign as the country’s biggest company by market value. Advanced Info, controlled by Temasek Holdings Pte of Singapore, was worth 681 billion baht ($19 billion) at Tuesday’s close, 5 percent less than the state-controlled oil and gas company. That’s approaching the narrowest gap between the two since 2003. PTT shares have plunged 23 percent this month as oil prices tumbled. “It’s panic selling in global energy stocks, including PTT, because the industry faces hardship through 2016,” said Naphat Chantaraserekul, the head of research at Krungsri Securities Pcl. “Telecom companies, especially Advanced Info, are a safe haven because cell-phone use has become fairly price-resistant, no matter the economic outlook.” Once bolstered by the near monopoly in Thailand’s oil and gas industry, PTT and its units including PTT Exploration & Production Pcl have been battered as oil dropped below $40 per barrel this week, from more than $100 per barrel barely a year ago. PTT’s shares have slid 24 percent in the past 12 months, while Advanced Info has gained 11 percent during the period. By revenue, PTT remains the largest Thai company by far. Its $87 billion in 2014 sales ranked it among the top 80 companies worldwide and was five times more than no. 2, PTT Global Chemical Pcl, according to a data compiled by Bloomberg. Advanced Info’s sales of $4.6 billion ranked 16th among SET-listed companies. PTT’s average price target for the next 12 months is 361 baht, 43 percent higher than the closing on Tuesday, according to a Bloomberg survey of 21 analysts. Advanced Info’s average target is 265 baht, a 16 percent rise from yesterday’s close. PTT’s net income in the second quarter dropped 19 percent to 23.75 billion baht. Advanced Info’s profit in the same period jumped 16 percent to 9.85 billion baht. An index of 40 energy explorers, refiners and drillers on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost $17 billion in value, sinking 5.2 percent Monday in New York to the lowest level since October 2011.

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