3G Services begin under Regulatory Uncertainty

On 31 August 2011, the Bangkok Post reported that True Move officially launched its commercial 3G service on 30 August 2011 by declaring a “3G war”. Suphachai Chearavanont, True Corporation’s chief executive, said that True Move plans to become the market leader in wireless broadband, eyeing at least a one-third market share in the next 3-5 years. Mr. Suphachai was reported as being confident that the group’s deal with CAT on 3G co-marketing contracts complies with the law. However, if the contracts are judged illegal, True will use legal channels to ask for fairness.

The Norwegian company, Telenor, which is the major shareholder of DTAC, was reported in the Bangkok Post on 24 August 2011 as supporting DTAC to proceed with its commercial 3G service without waiting for its concession owner’s approval. “Nobody can stop us. CAT Telecom cannot do anything with us (DTAC) now,” said Sigve Brekke, executive vice-president of the Telenor Group.

DTAC was earlier reported as relying on a usage licence issued by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NTBC), as clearing the way for its commercial 3G service, but on 30 August 2011, the NBTC issued a controversial notification restricting “foreign domination” over telecommunications businesses – which could adversely impact DTAC and AIS.

On 5 September 2011, the Senate appointed 11 members to the NBTC, after which the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) announced that it would be continuing with its probe into the NBTC selection process.