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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  May 2011

DTAC fears defections if 3G stalls

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DTAC, the country's second largest mobile operator, is worried that it will lose more customers to rivals if its concession owner CAT Telecom does not approve its commercial 3G service plan by the third quarter.

Company executives made the comment yesterday after the Central Administrative Court on Thursday rejected DTAC's request for an injunction to halt all activity related to a disputed 3G services contract between the state telecom enterprise and True Corp, parent of the third-ranked mobile operator True Move.

The court has agreed to consider DTAC's complaint that CAT Telecom's Jan 14 board resolution granting the contracts to True Corp was illegitimate and had caused it damage. However, the court's denial of an injunction paves the way for True and CAT to move ahead with plans for a nationwide 3G network.

Veeranuch Kamolyabut, head of the legal division of DTAC, said the company was reviewing the court's decision to determine its next course of action. "We are considering whether to appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court."

CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah conceded the company could face a high churn rate if True launches aggressive 3G promotions to build market share.

DTAC is now the only operator that doesn't have commercial 3G service. However, the company's churn rate, the rate at which people change operators over time, was normal so far, he added.

Mr. Abdullah said DTAC was ready to start providing 3G service on high-speed packet access (HSPA) in the third quarter of this year. "We are determined to continue investing 30 billion baht in 3G," he said.

Despite lacking approval from CAT, DTAC has begun spending 1.2 billion baht to upgrade its existing analogue 850 MHz frequency to HSPA on 1,220 base stations _ 400 in Bangkok and 820 in 20 major provinces.

CAT has declined to allow DTAC to start providing commercial 3G trials, pending the results of an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General.

Mr. Abdullah said he was pleased that DTAC had been able to take a positive step forward on behalf of the Thai telecom industry after the court accepted its case for further review. "This means the court has upheld the principle of free and fair competition."

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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