Thai PM may invoke powers to aid mobile operators

31 Jan 2019

The Thai government is reportedly considering invoking Section 44 of the nation's interim constitution to allow the market's mobile operators an extension on their 900-MHz license payments.

Section 44, which was inserted into the constitution drawn up in 2014 following Thailand's most recent military coup, gives the prime minister absolute power to issue orders.

The provision could be invoked to ease the burden of license fee repayments for the market's major operators as a result of a request for relief from mobile operators AIS and True Move H Universal Communications, the Bangkok Post reported.

The two operators would benefit the most from the relief as they are both required to pay 60 billion baht in 2020 as a last payment for the 900-MHz licenses secured in the auction.

According to the report, the military government is considering granting the relief in order to encourage participating in this year's upcoming spectrum auctions.

Part of the proceeds from the auctions are planned to be used to subsidize the operational costs of digital TV operations.

But prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will only have until February to continue invoking Section 44 before the planned general election is held in March. He is also under pressure to stop using these powers and to maintain political neutrality until the election is held on March 24.

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