Orange Selling Shares of Thai Venture
By John Alderman, Thu Mar 11 16:45:00 GMT 2004

There are several different takes today about the plans that Orange has to sell off most of its 49 percent share in Thai company TA Orange for the low, low price of one baht (about 2.5 cents).

The third ranked-mobile company in the Kingdom was founded two years ago as a joint venture between Orange, and TelecomAsia, a landline provider.

Only The Times story mentions that Orange company parent France Telecom decided that TA Orange simply wasn't a profitable venture for it because Thai law precludes foreign majority ownership of telecom companies. This is an interesting point in light of what Doug Rushkoff has mentioned about Telefonica and "digital imperialism." Thailand is one country with a law designed specifically to prevent that (part of national pride about having skillfully resisted ever being made a European colony).

The focus of The Nation's story was on re-branding, changing the Orange image to red, as one (unnamed) source is quoted as saying, "By April, you'll see the whole of Bangkok turned red by True colour." Synergies between the fixed-line operations and mobile services were also stressed.

Orange founder Hans Snook, who was running TA Orange even after he left France Telecom, will continue to chair the company.