10 Jan 2012
DTAC has already paid out 300 million baht ($9.5 million) in compensation in the first outage, 50 million baht ($1.5 million) in the second and is still calculating the level of compensation for the third.
But the real damage is to the company’s reputation and it remains to be seen how the churn and number portability figures tally up when the dust settles.
DTAC has committed 40 billion baht ($1.26 billion) in network investment over the next three years. Abdullah was asked why DTAC was investing so much given that its concession ends in 2018 and the previous, aborted, draft 3G licence specifically prohibited re-use of old 2G network infrastructure. He responded that only 20% of its users were now on 3G (850-MHz) and the company and its concession holder, state owned CAT Telecom, has a commitment to bring the best technology to all its subscribers, whether 2G or 3G.
Pressed if the network upgrade was a bid to to pre-empt and shape the new regulator’s 3G licensing terms and conditions, Abdullah only said, “It is the right thing to do. Whether we have six years left or two years left, it is the right thing to do.”
Abdullah said he expects 2.1-GHz 3G licensing in Thailand in Q3 this year and that the company has ample free cash, generating around 5 to 7 billion baht ($158 million to $221 million) every quarter, to invest in a licence and network.
Later, after meeting with DTAC officials, National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission vice-chairman Colonel Settapong Malisuwan announced a formal investigation and requested access to log files to see if the network crash was due to negligence or a technical issue as claimed. No immediate sanctions would be levied though further migration is prohibited pending the outcome of the investigation.