Thai regulator OKs draft laws on foreign telecoms deals, monopolies

3 May 2006

Thailand’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved draft regulations regarding business deals with foreign telecoms partners, which require all Thai operators to seek the regulator’s approval before signing any agreement with overseas companies. The Commission also approved draft legislation to prevent monopolies in the telecoms sector. Both bills are now subject to public hearings, which will be conducted through the NTC’s website (www.ntc.or.th).

The NTC also announced that representatives from the embassies of Singapore, the USA, Norway and Australia, would meet with commissioners to clear up doubts over the draft regulations on foreign corporate dominance which are now in the public consultation process. A local industry source said that foreign investors are ‘upset that the regulations go into too much detail. They consider that the foreign dominance regulations are unnecessary with the presence of the Alien Business Act, which allows foreign participation in a Thai company up to 49%.’ Through the proposed regulations, the NTC would also determine whether a telco is Thai-owned or ‘foreign’ through the presence of foreign directors, and not only through equity participation.

Thailand