CAT seeks cut in license charges

21 Feb 2007

(The Nation via NewsEdge) Thailand's CAT Telecom will ask the national telecom regulator to consider reducing its license fee, the company's president said.

CAT president Phisal Jorphochaudom said CAT paid total license fees of about 700 million baht ($21 million) last year to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), adding that the amount was too high for the state agency.

Kitisak Sriprasert, CAT's senior executive vice president for corporate strategy, said the company would explain to the NTC its costs of operating all types of telecom services, so that the regulator could come up with an appropriate formula of computing license fee rates.

'Moreover, we will ask the licensing body to explain how it spends our license fee. We think the NTC should return some portion of the fee to us to help us invest further in business expansion,' said Kitisak.

He said that this year CAT would be more aggressive in seeking new licenses to diversify its operations.

The NTC has opened up CAT's long-entrenched gold-mine of the international-call market by granting international-call licenses to several companies, including Advanced International Network, True and Total Access Communication.

CAT, which earlier had no domestic network, is set to make the official launch of its CDMA 2000-1x cellular service in 51 provinces in April.

Phisal said CAT intended to finish talking with Hutchison-CAT in six months on a possible joint marketing of their CDMA service on their two separate networks. Hutchison-CAT, a joint venture between CAT and Hong Kong's telecom giant Hutchison Telecom, has marketed the CDMA service via its own network in 25 provinces.

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