Chinese interested in 3G bid
Apr 13, 2012 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Chinese companies have expressed interest in bidding for third-generation (3G) licences in Thailand, says the vice-chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.
Western companies, meanwhile, are avoiding the Thai telecom sector because of concern about Foreign Business Act regulations governing foreign shareholder control in the sector, said Setthapong Malisuwan, who is also the chairman of NBTC's telecom committee.
DTAC, the second-largest local operator, faced intense scrutiny from the previous government after rival True Move alleged that Telenor of Norway effectively controlled more than 50% of DTAC. Nothing more has been heard on the issue since the Pheu Thai government was elected, however.
The NBTC expects to finalise the terms for an auction of licences for the 2100 MHz frequency by the third quarter.
Col Setthapong said the regulator welcomed all foreign bidders that complied with Thai regulations.
The NBTC also plans to draft new regulations governing foreign dominance, improving on those issued by the now-defunct National Telecommunications Commission.
Unlike the existing regulations, Col Setthapong said the revised draft would not touch on national security. It also will not require the NBTC to consult with any national security agencies if it finds a licence holder breached the law.
He said the revised regulation would replace the term "controlling power" with the term "dominance".
Dominance would be determined based on a licence holder's shareholding structure, particularly whether it controls a majority of votes at shareholders' meetings and has the authority to appoint or remove directors. This is in line with the Securities and Exchange Act 1992.
The existing regulation defines controlling power as direct or indirect control of and influence on company policy, management and appointment of top executives.
Foreign dominance is said to exist where foreign parties have at least half the controlling power in a licence or concession holder, said Col Setthapong.
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