Total Access to sell Apple iPhone in Thailand - source

 @ibtimes
on February 12 2010 5:13 PM

BANGKOK - Total Access Communication (TAC), Thailand's second-largest mobile phone firm, is preparing to sell Apple Inc's iPhone in the Thai market, an industry source said on Friday.

The move is seen as a key step for boosting revenue from non-voice services, which have shown stronger growth than voice services in a saturated market where almost everyone has a mobile phone.

They have prepared some work on websites and it should be for sale within one month from now, the source said, declining to be identified.

TAC, which is controlled by Norway's Telenor, declined to comment.

TAC's smaller rival, True Move PCL, a unit of True Corp, was the first to launch the 3G iPhone in the country in January 2009.

True has said it sold about 100,000 iPhones in 2009 and aimed to sell another 120,000 this year. The phones have also been sold through unofficial outlets.

Bigger rival Advanced Info Service has said it was still exploring ways to offer iPhone in the Thai market after failing to reach a deal with Apple.

Mobile operators in the country are banking on the launch of smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry to boost revenue at a time of slow growth in voice services.

TAC, which launched Blackberry in December, has said it planned to offer more smartphones to push up revenue.Thailand's telecoms industry is likely to grow 3-5 percent this year, roughly matching growth in the economy, while total mobile phone subscriptions could rise to 69 million from an estimated 65 million in 2009, AIS has said.

At 0420 GMT, TAC shares were down 0.73 percent at 34 baht, while the overall Thai market was up 0.17 percent.

(Additional reporting and writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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