11 July 2024

The board of Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is expected make a decision on the planned merger between True and DTAC on October 12th.

Trairat Viriyasirikul, acting secretary-general of the NBTC, said today (Friday) that his duty is to collect all relevant information pertaining to the proposed merger for submission to the board to make the decision.

He insisted that he has no right to make any statement about the matter, as he dismissed an allegation that he was responsible for leaking a report about a ruling from the Council of State regarding the NBTC’s authority to decide on the planned merger.

The Thailand Consumer Council (TCC) has threatened action against Trairat over the leaking of the report. It also threatened to take the merger case to the Administrative Court if the NBTC board endorses the plan, claiming that it will lead to market control and unfair competition, which will not benefit consumers.

The new combined entity would have a 52% market share,compared to 44% held by Advanced Info Services (AIS). True and DTAC hold six blocks of spectrum each, for the 1,420Mhz and 990MHz bands, and have 32 million and 19.3 million mobile phone subscribers respectively. AIS has five spectrum licenses, for the 270MHz frequency, and 43.7 million subscribers.

Meanwhile, Pol Col Prawet Moonpramook, the secretary to NBTC board’s chairman, confirmed that the board will consider the merger plan on October 12th.

TCC secretary-general Saree Aongsomwang said that the council would like the NBTC to hold a public hearing, to gauge the opinions about the merger plan, before it reaches a decision.

She said that the council has doubts over the role of Finansa as the independent advisor in the merger plan, despite True and DTAC holding stakes in the company.