Thailand’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has announced plans to release its long-awaited interconnection guidelines by the end of July. NTC chairman General Chuchart Promprasit yesterday told reporters that the establishment of a fair interconnection system was vital in creating a competitive telecoms market, and also confirmed that the regulator hoped to issue its first operating licences – to state owned incumbents TOT Corp and CAT Telecom – by the same date. The licensing of private operators is next on the NTC’s agenda, but the General continues to pass the buck over the cancelling of service providers’ current BTO agreements. Under the terms of the BTO contracts companies hand over their networks to TOT and CAT, and share a large proportion (between 10% and 45%) of their revenues with the incumbents. The private operators had been hoping that the NTC, which is still less than a year old, would outline the conversion of BTO contracts to full operating concessions, but the regulator has sidestepped the issue, saying that it is instead the responsibility of the companies concerned. Promprasit yesterday urged the operators to speed up their negotiations: ‘They should work things out themselves to clear all the uncertainties,’ he told reporters.