ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai telecoms foreign-cap end urged
Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) vice-president Somkiat Tangkitvanich said the new law should replace the Telecom Business Law that caps foreign holdings in a Thai telecom business at 49 percent under the Foreign Business Law.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) recently issued a regulation prohibiting activities that are tantamount to "foreign dominance" in the sector, but such regulations deterred foreign investors from competing in the 3G licence auction, he said.
He said such regulations must be in the public interest, according to the law. The NTC did not clarify why it came out with such regulations, even while it held investor roadshows in 10 countries before the 3G auction.
Dr. Somkiat said data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that 17 developed countries, from the United Kingdom to France to Germany and Sweden, allowed 100 percent foreign holdings and their telecom sectors were all highly competitive.
He added that Thai operators were not always appear kinder to Thai consumers than foreign operators.
On another note, he said the Finance Ministry's proposal to end the revenue-sharing 2G concessions and replace them with licensing agreements under the same 2G spectrum would look better if an entrance fee was introduced.
The entrance fee should be fixed at the same price as the 3G licence fee because it benefits operators and the state more than the proposed 12.5 percent fee, which is too expensive and does not attract operators.
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