NBTC urged to accelerate consideration of True-DTAC merger plan

Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) and Norway’s Telenor are urging the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Thailand’s telecom and broadcasting regulator, to speed up the issuance of conditions to govern the planned merger of their two subsidiaries, True Corp and Total Access Communication (DTAC).

CP Chief Executive Suphachai Chearavanont and Sigve Brekke, president and chief executive of Telenor, told a joint press conference yesterday (Friday) that the NBTC has no authority to approve or reject the planned merger, but does have the authority to regulate the operations of the merged entity.

Supachai, also chairman of True Corporation, said that the merger will not lead to monopolisation of cell phone services, as feared by some, because their market share is no more than 48%, adding that, each year, as many as 30% of cellular service customers tend to move between service providers.

Supachai said that, if the NBTC objects to the merger, it can take the case to the Administrative Court, but that he hopes that it will not get to that stage.

He also said that the merger plan was submitted to the NBTC in January this year and both CP and Telenor want to start the share swap process in August, as planned, so as not to affect the confidence of their shareholders and the stock market.

The NBTC has set up four panels to study the merger and it is reported that three of those panels disagree with the plan.

The other key mobile phone service provider, Advanced Info Service (AIS), has previously announced plans to take over fixed line broadband provider, Triple T Broadband, and to invest in the Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund (JASIF). These would be total investments of about 32.4 billion baht.


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