CAT's clause: no commercial 3G for DTAC until agreement on compensation

1 Apr 2011

State-owned CAT Telecom has rejected a request from Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) to launch commercial 3G mobile services, pending assurance from the privately-run cellco that it will not seek compensation from CAT for possible losses on its 3G service investment if the Cabinet decides to revoke DTAC’s concession. The Nation reports that CAT sent a letter to DTAC on 17 March informing the Telenor subsidiary that permission for commercial 3G services would be granted if DTAC agreed first to the condition, but CAT was ‘not satisfied’ with DTAC’s reply. DTAC told CAT that it could accept the condition but only for possible damages specifically related to its planned rollout of 1,220 HSPA base stations which CAT previously permitted for DTAC’s existing limited-coverage trial 3G services. CAT’s CEO Jirayuth Rungsrithong insisted that DTAC should expand its acceptance of the condition to cover ‘all its 3G investment’, but declined to give further details. Jirayuth denied that the rejection by CAT’s board of DTAC’s proposals would benefit the 3G partnership between CAT and True Move/Real Move, which is expected to launch commercial HSPA services in the coming weeks. Real Move would provide the service on a resale basis, unlike DTAC, which wants to provide the service under its existing CAT build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession, he said. Meanwhile, the Information and Communications Technology Ministry committee charged with asking private telecoms operators to pay the state compensation for concession amendments made under previous governments will submit the results of the negotiations for the Cabinet’s consideration ‘soon’, according to the newspaper report.