DTAC to challenge “foreign dominance” rules

"Second-ranked mobile operator Total Access Communication (DTAC) has reiterated that it is ready to deal with a potentially explosive challenge to "foreign dominance" before the upcoming 3G licensing auction begins", according to a report in the 20 February 2012 edition of the Bangkok Post.  The Bangkok Post article also says "[a]llegations have been made from time to time that DTAC and AIS, though still legally Thai-owned, are rightly classified as foreign-controlled firms."  Information on those reports and an on-going dispute between DTAC and third-ranked True can be found in the archived section of the Telecommunications part of the Knowledge Section of our website here.

True previously lodged a complaint asserting that DTAC was in violation of the Foreign Business Act (FBA) (The FBA is generally discussed here), and DTAC has denied those allegations.  But there is another legal hurdle that is potentially even more problematic for foreigners who wish to participate in Thailand's telecommunications sector.  After DTAC denied True's claim that it had violated the FBA, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) issued a notification restricting “foreign domination” over telecommunications businesses.  This notification, for example, lists a "licensing or franchising" agreement with a foreign company as an example of foreign domination of a Thai telecommunications company.  More information on this NTBC notification can be found here