True-CAT 3G contract terminated

Don Sambandaraksa
05 Sep 2012
Daily News

TrueMove H’s controversial 3G network deal with state-owned CAT Telecom has been cancelled.

The decision by CAT Telecom’s board should not affect any of TrueMove H’s two million Thai subscribers as the state telco intends to fix the illegal aspects of the deal, chiefly that the project was signed off without cabinet approval by asking the cabinet to approve the new deal.

Another key issue was that the network apparently violated article 46 of the frequency allocation act, in that CAT Telecom as a licencee has to run the network itself. In the current arrangement TrueMove H (under a company called RealMove) is an MVNO to CAT Telecom, but CAT Telecom in turns outsources all network operations to BFKT, another TrueMove company, leaving CAT just a rent-collector in the middle.

CAT Telecom CEO Kittisak Sriprasert said that the new contract will ensure that CAT is able to use its own equipment on the 850-MHz spectrum, CAT will run the network operations centre itself, CAT will own the network traffic data and CAT’s authority in the partnership will be more clearly defined.

Under the current contracts, all of the above is in the hands of True (BFKT).

Kittisak said that he was in sensitive negotiations with True (BFKT) and expects a new contract to be signed off within the next two weeks.

Previously the national anti-corruption commission, the senate and the ICT Ministry have all declared the deal illegal and an anti-corruption probe has been launched against former CAT CEO Jirayuth Rungsrithong as a government officer. No charges have been made against True.

But according to a report in the Bangkok Post, executives from both companies could potentially face up to a year in jail and stiff fines, if regulator NBTC proceeds with a plan to file a criminal complaint against BFKT and CAT Telecom over the initial deal.

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