AIS agrees interconnect terms with DTAC; True to follow

1 Dec 2006

Thai mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) yesterday reached an agreement on interconnection charges with nearest rival Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) in compliance with regulations introduced by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), reports the Bangkok Post. AIS said it would sign a similar agreement with third-ranked True Move over the next two weeks. Earlier, DTAC had signed a similar agreement with True Move. According to the paper, the contract between AIS and DTAC surprised some, as the firms had repeatedly verbally attacked each other over ‘unfair competition’ in the industry. At a joint press conference yesterday, DTAC chief executive Sigve Brekke admitted the agreement with AIS might come as a surprise to many but said that the content was not different from its deal with True Move. The agreement fixed the termination rate at THB1 (USD0.02781) for both operators. DTAC will charge a transit rate of THB0.5 per minute to AIS, but AIS will charge DTAC THB1.

Mr Brekke declined to comment on whether DTAC would follow True Move’s example and stop paying network access charges to state-run fixed line operator TOT. He said that DTAC submitted its proposal to TOT two weeks ago, calling for the enforcement of interconnection rates to replace access charges. While DTAC is awaiting a reply from TOT, it continues to pay the state enterprise the access charges, he said, going on to claim that DTAC was simply acting in compliance with the interconnection charge regulations, and would in turn negotiate on rates with other fixed line providers, including TT&T and CAT. AIS president Wichien Mektrakarn said the agreement with DTAC had been considered thoroughly and was intended to be in compliance with regulations, not to pressure the state into abolishing access charges.