ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai telecoms fight enters the courtroom
Contracts under the deal cannot be separated, nor can they stand on their own, thus violating Section 5 of the Public-Private Joint Venture Act of 1992, he said.
Suphachai Chearavanont, True's president and chief executive, reiterated his view that the deal is a win-win solution and simply a "natural business agreement" under the new telecom regime, not the old-fashioned monopoly system to which the act is often applied.
He warned Dr Somkiat not to make public his views on the deal as long as he does not have an in-depth knowledge of the contract details.
Mr Suphachai pointed out that Dr Somkiat is "only an engineer who is unskilled in legal interpretations".
The True contract, hastily arranged after the company acquired the small Hutch mobile business in which CAT has been a shareholder, runs for 14 years. Signing it removed a huge uncertainty about what would happen after True's existing mobile concession with CAT expires in 2013.
The deal was heavily criticised after CAT granted four major wholesale-resale contracts to the True subsidiaries Real Move and Real Future to provide 3G wireless broadband service using high-speed packet access technology.
True is now being scrutinised by investigative committees, the Office of the Auditor-General and the TDRI for possible violations of the Spectrum Allocation Act and the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.
Meanwhile, second-ranked operator Total Access Communication (DTAC) filed a complaint on April 25 with the Central Administrative Court, arguing the agreements between True and CAT stifled competition and were unlawful and discriminatory.
DTAC also asked the court to issue an injunction requiring CAT to refrain from executing the obligations under the agreements until all relevant authorities have reviewed and approved the transaction in accordance with established procedures. The court is scheduled to hear arguments tomorrow.
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