Thailand’s regulator has passed the anticipated temporary consumer protection notification, giving TrueMove and DPC a further 12 months to operate their 1800-MHz concessions which end on 15 September 2013. The notification will come into force on 25 August.
TrueMove has an estimated 17 million customers still on its 2G network, while AIS subsidiary DPC has less than 100,000.
Under the new arrangement, all profit after expenses will be returned to the exchequer, not just the 30% revenue share. A five-member audit committee will be set up to look into the finances with representatives from the ministry of finance, office of the attorney-general, one accountant, one economist and one representative from the NBTC.
The notification was passed by the full national broadcasting and telecommunications commission board 9:2 with Doctor Pravit Leesathapornwongsa and Supinya Klangnarong voting against.
The NBTC also approved a 10 million baht ($320,000) PR budget to inform the public of the extension.
Supinya said that the notification was illegal under the Frequency Allocation Act, illegal under the constitution and a blatant act of the regulator taking the consumer hostage to please the private operators.
She said that the consumer protection notification does not just apply to TrueMove 2G’s 1800, but also to AIS 900 and Dtac 1800, leaving the entire deregulation process in tatters. She said the constitution set up an independent regulator to sort out these problems because they were difficult, not because they were easy.
Both Supinya and Pravit said it was only a matter of time before before the NBTC would be impeached for criminal misconduct for issuing this notification.