Operators may seek NBTC payout over 2G losses [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 21--True Move and CAT Telecom are considering seeking compensation from the national telecoms regulator over the regulation governing customer retention after the expiry of concessions.
The country's third-largest mobile operator said it is facing accumulated losses of 3 billion baht due to the regulation that it retains its existing 2G customers for another one year after its mobile concession expired last September.
CAT, the state telecom enterprise, also claimed the regulation leads to potential revenue loss of 4.9 billion baht for being unable to earn revenue from network rental fees from True Move during the transition period.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) ordered True Move and Digital Phone Co (DPC), a unit of mobile leader Advanced Info Service, to retain their customers for another year after their concessions expired, but they are not allowed to acquire new subscribers.
True Move still has 7 million customers on the 1800-megahertz spectrum, down from 17 million last October. DPC has 30,000 users, down from 70,000.
Chakkrit Urairat, deputy director for regulatory relation of True Corporation, said that under the customer retention rule True Move has incurred losses of several hundred million baht per month, or more than 3 billion
"Our revenue stemming from the 2G service declined sharply to 500 million baht per month, compared with 1.5 billion baht a month before the expiry of the concession."
But Mr Chakkrit did not say how much compensation True Move will seek from the NBTC.
True Move is encouraging its existing 2G customers on the 1800-MHz spectrum to migrate to the company's 3G networks on both 850- and 2100-MHz spectrum, as the NBTC is scheduled to auction off the 1800-MHz spectrum for 4G mobile services in August.
Mr Chakkrit said True Move in February asked the NBTC whether it would allow the company to transfer its existing 7 million subscribers to 3G networks by sending text messages without their consent, which is against NBTC regulation.
The NBTC telecom committee is due to raise True Move's proposal at its board meeting on April 23.
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