DTAC files suit to halt True-CAT deal

Melissa Chua
26 Apr 2011

Thailand’s DTAC has filed a court challenge to state-owned concession owner CAT’s agreement with True Corp to jointly invest in CDMA and HSPA services.

According to The Nation, DTAC has complained to the country’s Central Administrative Court seeking a judicial review of the deal.

DTAC is asking for an injunction on CAT executing any agreements relating to the deal until the proper reviews have been conducted.

DTAC CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah said the deal was anti-competitive, with the potential to damage the country’s telecom industry.

True has just two years left on its concession with CAT but took over Hutchison’s Thai assets, in which CAT was also a stakeholder. The two firms subsequently signed a 14-year deal to develop and market commercial 3G services.

The vice-chairman of Thailand’s Development Research Institute, Somkiat Tangkitvanich, told the Bangkok Post that the deal was equivalent to a ‘pseudo-concession’ and deserved investigation.

CAT CEO Jirayuth Rungsrithong declined comment on the complaint, while True CEO Supachai Chearavanont said the deal was compliant with regulations. Chearavanont added DTAC, Thailand’s second-largest operator, had the longest concession term in the industry and the largest “50Mhz chunk” of 1,800Mhz spectrum.

DTAC is now upgrading its 850Mhz frequency to HSPA, without CAT approval. Abdullah said the requested injunction has nothing to do with DTAC’s request for CAT’s approval to launch commercial 3G services. DTAC has awaited approval for two years.

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