TOT finally agrees to issue extra numbers

18 Jul 2005

Thai state-owned fixed incumbent TOT Corp has finally agreed to allocate extra phone numbers to three of the country’s mobile operators, having attempted to ignore their increasingly desperate requests for nearly a year. TOT will issue DTAC, AIS and TA Orange a million new numbers each, which it claims will alleviate the possibility of number shortages, despite being well short of the amount requested. DTAC has been leading the push for the redistribution of numbers and in March submitted a request to the regulator, the NTC, for 2.5 million new mobile numbers from TOT. The incumbent previously allocated DTAC 11.7 million numbers, close to nine million of which are now in use. Market leader AIS was asking for around two million numbers, whilst TA Orange requested 1.5 million. In April the NTC proposed fining TOT until it released extra numbers to private operators, but it has yet to levy any financial penalties and the onus is once again on the regulator to publish its long-promised new numbering framework, due sometime in the first quarter of next year.

Meanwhile, the NTC has confirmed that it intends to issue new operating concessions to TOT and its sister company CAT Telecom on 4 August, a date it has christened ‘National Communications Day’. The regulator is also due to publish its long-awaited interconnection guidelines by the same date.