Concession reform faces opposition from telco unions

2 Mar 2012

The Bangkok Post reports that Thai state-run telco TOT’s labour union is seeking 12,000 employee signatures by next month for a petition protesting a law that will require the company to transfer all revenue it currently earns from build-transfer-operate (BTO) telecoms concessions to the government. Section 84 of the Frequency Allocation Act stipulates that TOT and sister company CAT Telecom must return revenue from their concessions and frequency-related services to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), starting on 20 December 2013. The regulator will then pass the revenue to the state. A petition will be submitted to the Constitutional Court and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said Pongthiti Pongsilamanee, the labour union’s acting president, who added that the law contravenes Section 305 of the constitution, which protects state enterprise contracts and concessions from subsequent legislation. TOT earned THB19 billion (USD622 million) from revenue-sharing alone from its largest BTO concession holder, cellco Advanced Info Service (AIS) last year. TOT made an annual net profit of THB6 billion. ‘Without concession revenue, TOT will immediately suffer a loss of more than THB10 billion a year,’ said Mr Pongthiti.

Thailand, CAT Telecom, TOT