DTAC accuses AIS over network congestion

17 May 2005

Thailand’s number two mobile operator Digital Total Access Communications (DTAC) has accused market leader Advanced Info Services (AIS) of clogging up the country’s cellular networks. DTAC says that its users have had problems contacting AIS subscribers due to the limited access provided by its rival’s incoming call gateway, and urged it to invest in expanding its incoming capacity. AIS says that it already has ‘huge’ network capacity and does not need to increase the gateway’s capabilities, instead blaming the congestion on a surge in usage following its rival’s launching of a raft of low-cost promotions. DTAC is now considering paying for the work itself: ‘We don’t think the investment will cost a lot,’ said DTAC CEO Sigve Brekke, ‘actually, we can invest for AIS, otherwise it will hurt our customers.’

DTAC has also reiterated its pressing need for more mobile numbers, saying it expects to run out of numbers in the north east of the country within three weeks. In March the cellco submitted a request to the telecoms regulator, the NTC, for 2.5 million new mobile numbers from state-run PTO TOT Corp. The incumbent previously allocated DTAC 11.7 million numbers, 8.4 million of which are in use. Last month the NTC proposed fining TOT until it released extra numbers to private operators, but it has yet to levy any financial penalties and TOT retains the numbers. AIS and fellow cellco TA Orange are also seeking additional numbers. Much of the difficulties have arisen because the NTC has only been operational since last September, and has yet to revise the national numbering plan.