TOT mulls suit against NBTC over charges [Bangkok Post, Thailand]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 29--TOT Plc is considering legal action against the telecom regulator over a new interconnection charge rule, as the state telecom enterprise continues to demand that its concessionaires rely on conditions under concession deals.
The threat is meant to strengthen TOT's stance in the old-style access charge system, which requires CAT, DTAC, True Move and DPC to pay 200 baht a month per number as an access charge for mobile postpaid services and 15% of prepaid mobile credit to TOT, said Preeya Danchaivijit, TOT's senior executive vice-president.
In the past few years, TOT filed a petition with the Administrative Court against the interconnection charge (IC) rule previously drafted by the now-defunct National Telecommunications Commission.
The NTC scrapped the access charge system and replaced it with the IC, under which TOT claims to have lost as much as 100 billion baht in revenue since 2003.
An IC is a per-minute charge levied by a network operator on other service providers to recover the costs of interconnection facilities.
Mobile operators are currently setting different IC rates ranging from 50 satang to 1.07 baht a minute, depending on agreements between the parties.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is likely to set a new IC of 45 satang a minute for mobile voice service, effective this month.
Mrs Preeya said legal action against the NBTC will be raised at the board's next meeting.
Jesada Sivaraks, secretary of the NBTC's vice-chairman, acknowledged that the regulator is likely to face legal challenges from TOT on the new IC rate as the state enterprise seeks to protect its financial health.
He said the new IC standard will pave the way for the regulatory body to start granting infrastructure-sharing licences for telecom services by September.
The infrastructure-sharing licences will include mobile towers and fibre-optic networks, letting telecom operators share their networks with each other.
The licences will offer both voluntary and compulsory features for infrastructure owners _ essentially for TOT and CAT Telecom.
The infrastructure-sharing licences will encourage TOT and CAT to share their networks with existing operators and newcomers alike.
The new system will also prod the state enterprises to focus on serving as network service providers rather than operators.
(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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