A senate committee has decided that the network resale deal struck by CAT Telecom and True Corp in January 2011, which spawned the ‘True Move H’ 3G mobile service, is ‘illegal’. TelecomAsia writes that the committee has forwarded the matter to the state counter-corruption commission for further action against the state-owned telco, after finding the agreement to have violated three laws: firstly, Article 46 paragraph 2 of the Frequency Allocation Act B.E. 2553 (2010) that forbids transfer of frequency, in this case from state-owned CAT to private sector group True’s mobile arm True Move; secondly, the Telecom Business Act B.E. 2544 (2001) as the network operator, BFKT (a wholly owned subsidiary of True Move) does not possess any operating licence from the regulator; and thirdly, the Public-Private Joint Investment Act B.E. 2535 (1992) as the project exceeds THB1 billion (USD32 million) but was not forwarded to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval as stipulated in the act. The counter-corruption commission will hear testimony from CAT and the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission on 20 February 2012.
Under the 14-year CAT-True partnership, one of True’s subsidiaries builds and operates 3G network infrastructure in the 850MHz frequency band and sells capacity to CAT while another of True’s group divisions buys back 80% of the network capacity to resell under the True Move H banner, effectively functioning as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). CAT also offers its own retail 3G service over the HSPA-based network, under the ‘My’ brand. All ongoing investigations into the public-private venture focus on the actions of the state-owned company, rather than True Corp.