Thai regulators to begin collecting fees

04 Aug 2006

Thailand's state and private telecom operators, including those using special short numbers for commercial use, will have to pay number fees directly to the national telecom regulator from the beginning of next month.

Suranan Wongvithayakamjorn, secretary-general of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), said all phone numbers, including special three- and four-digit numbers, would fall under the NTC's jurisdiction from September 1.

On that day, the NTC will introduce a new national numbering plan aimed at boosting the quantity of phone numbers from 90 million to 300 million.

Suranan said all private and state telecom operators would have to pay the fees directly to the commission.

As of June, Advanced Info Service owned 23.6 million phone numbers, Total Access Communication 15.27 million and True Move 9.5 million.

Two fixed-line telephone operators - True Corp Plc and TT&T Plc - had 4 million and 2.7 million phone numbers, respectively.

TOT Plc, which, before the NTC's establishment, distributed all telephone numbers, never charged its private concessionaires specifically for phone numbers, but lumped all regulatory charges into its concession fee.

It never quantified phone number fee collections from its concessionaires.

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