TOT seeks to delay new interconnection framework

21 Nov 2006

State-run telco TOT Corp yesterday asked Thailand’s interim government to postpone the enforcement of the new interconnection charge (IC) regime for a year, due to ‘many unsolved problems’, reports the Bangkok Post. The plea comes after private sector cellcos stopped paying the fixed line incumbent access charges on Saturday, after they signed a landmark IC deal last week that aims to share revenue fairly based on call traffic. According to the paper, TOT has set up a panel to consider legal action against the mobile operators. Both DTAC and True Move said they would stop paying the access charge of THB200 (USD5.5) per number per month that forms the bulk of TOT’s THB14 billion annual revenues. TOT said that if DTAC and True Move ceased payment, then it could take direct action against sister telco CAT Telecom, which granted mobile Build Transfer Operate (BTO) concessions to both companies. The National Telecommunications Commission (NCC) has said IC charges will take effect early next month if mobile phone operators reach agreements by themselves. NTC chairman Choochart Promprasit said yesterday that he was waiting for TOT’s official request to postpone IC charges. The final decision will be made by the seven-member NTC board. Meanwhile, DTAC’s CEO Sigve Brekke said his company would do its utmost to reach a fair solution on access charges with TOT, but if TOT refused to talk, he added, then DTAC was ready to fight in court. ‘DTAC doesn’t want to change its existing contract with TOT,’ said Mr Brekke, ‘but we need the agency to replace access charges with interconnection charges to end discrimination in favour of mobile leader Advanced Info Services.’