TOT gets government support on interconnection fees

24 Nov 2006

(Bangkok Post via NewsEdge) Thailand's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister Sitthichai Pokai-udom voiced support for TOT's plea to delay the enforcement of interconnection charges for one year.

He said the ministries of ICT and finance, which own major stakes in the state fixed-line operator, need more time to find a solution that will benefit all parties.

Access charges are stipulated in the concession-based agreements the state signed with private companies, and cannot be abandoned unless all parties involved in the deal give approval, he said.

Last week, True Move and DTAC signed an interconnection fee deal that would charge fees based on call traffic. As part of the deal, both cellular companies said they would stop paying costly monthly access charges to TOT, which form the bulk of the state enterprise's revenue.

Sitthichai said he planned to hold meetings with all parties within the next few months. But, he added, the ICT Ministry could not give a direct order and the National Telecommunications Commission would have the final say in whether enforcement of the interconnection charge should be delayed.

The minister has received documents from TOT, CAT Telecom and private operators on a range of telecommunications issues, and plans to use them to propose solutions to existing problems.

Sigve Brekke, DTAC's chief executive, said that his company could do nothing further if the interim government decides to delay the enforcement of interconnection charges as TOT wishes.

However, he added, DTAC was seeking discussions with TOT, the telecom regulator and the ICT minister to find a win-win solution.

© 2006 Bangkok Post

© 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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