TOT remains stubborn over interconnection rates

28 Jun 2006

Thai state-run telco TOT Corp says that its proposed new network interconnection rates will apply only to new telecoms operators which have obtained a full operating licence from regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), insisting that existing operators must continue to pay access fees under their original build-transfer-operate (BTO) contracts with the incumbent. However, privately owned telco True Corp’s vice chairman Athueck Asvanont said TOT could not restrict the interconnection framework to newcomers because the NTC had ruled that rates must be the same for all operators. He added that, as TOT had recently had its operating licence renewed by the NTC, it was bound to abide by its interconnection regulations. Anuparp Thiralarp, the president of the Thailand Telecommunication Management Academy (TTMA), said TOT was wrong to rush to seek licences from the regulator if it still insisted on maintaining its revenue-sharing BTO concessions, under which fixed line and mobile operators pay a share of their revenues to TOT or international gateway operator CAT, depending on which granted the licence. TOT, which earns in the region of THB20 billion (USD520 million) a year from access charges, is strongly opposed to giving up the revenue, claiming it would face serious financial trouble if it did so.

TOT’s proposed interconnection charges will be submitted to the NTC by the end of this week. Other operators submitted their proposals on 1 June, but TOT sought an extension. TOT deputy president Chamras Tantreesukhon said the board had agreed on a call origination rate of THB3, THB1.25 for termination and THB0.5 for the basic transit rate. Interconnection would be charged per-minute instead of per-call, he added.

Thailand, TOT