Thailand telco True prepares move into Myanmar cable TV

Thailand's leading telecom, True Corp. will enter Myanmar's nascent cable television market this year and then, when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) starts in 2015, expand further into Vietnam with its telecom footprint.

First things first: True will offer cable in Myanmar, with chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont telling the Bangkok Post the plan is to "spend at least 1 billion baht. We'll produce local-language programming in entertainment and international stations."

True, he said, plans to become "an integrated telecom service provider" by seeking an infrastructure license and commercial digital TV service license to rent telecom networks to operators as well as operate digital TV channels, the company CEO said. The move will "complement our existing pay TV services and open a wider opportunity to bring our content to free TV."

To accomplish its goals, the service provider plans to apply for licenses from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission when they become available next year. After that, Suphachai predicted satellite and digital TV services will take five to 10 years to mature while mainstream pay TV provides "a more sustainable model of recurring fees," the newspaper report said.

The company's pay TV operation will battle piracy by replacing analog set-top boxes with digital ones as it introduces a prepaid HD service this year, he said.

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