If you’re an AIS customer and use 1-2-Call prepaid cards to top up the funds in your mobile phone you may have noticed that since the beginning of this month, they have been getting increasingly harder to obtain at your local 7-Eleven store.
The trouble for AIS customers is there’s a 7-Eleven store at nearly every corner throughout Thailand so it’s there where you would naturally buy a new 1-2-Call card when your phone has run out of credit.
Your webmaster, who is a 1-2-Call customer too, has been lucky there’s also a Tesco Lotus “Express” store just around the corner from where I’m living, so I could use Tesco instead of the two nearby 7-Eleven stores that had run out of 1-2-Call cards since earlier this month.
But why did all 7-Eleven stores appear to run out of 1-2-Call top-up cards at the same time? From the beginning I suspected the real reason for the sudden shortage of 1-2-Call cards was some kind of business conflict between Advanced Info Service (that’s Thailand’s largest mobile operator and what the acronym AIS stands for) and the owners of 7-Eleven – the mighty Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), that’s Thailand’s largest private company and one of the Asia’s largest conglomerates.
This has been confirmed by Khaosod English today:
While more than half of Thailand’s 50 richest billionaires saw their fortunes shrink in 2016, the clans at the very top of the list all managed to increase their wealth in the past 12 months.
As in 2015, the four Chearavanont brothers, who control agribusiness conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), again took the top spot in the latest Thailand’s 50 Richest list, published Wednesday by American business magazine Forbes. The four siblings were also the biggest gainers this year, seeing their combined wealth increase by US$4.1 billion to $18.5 billion.
The CP group is Thailand’s largest private company and one of Asia’s largest conglomerates. It consists of three core businesses that operate in the agribusiness and food industry, retail and distribution (7-Eleven, Siam Makro), and the telecommunications industries (True Corporation) with investment in over 20 countries.
Chances that Pattaya finally gets its long-promised high speed rail link have considerably risen on Tuesday when the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) approved the construction of a high speed train link between Bangkok and Rayong.
The 193.5 kilometre route would include stops at Suvarnabhumi Airport and in Pattaya and reduce the overall travel time between the capital and Pattaya from the current two hours to just 60 minutes – a massive boost for regular commuters and tourists travelling to Pattaya.
While the profitability of the entire high-speed rail project which has been in the pipeline for almost a decade now certainly remains debatable (and only seeing is believing) it appears that at least some headway has been made.