NBTC rings in new year with crackdown
Jan 04, 2013 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has again imposed penalties on telecom operators for failure to properly register prepaid SIM cards as well as failing to scrap the expiration date on prepaid mobile credits.
Effective yesterday, the watchdog ordered a fine of 80,000 baht per day on operators failing to comply with the prepaid registration rule.
An additional 100,000 baht will be imposed per day if operators still set an expiration date on prepaid mobile service.
NBTC issued warning letters yesterday for four telecom firms _ Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC), TOT and CAT Telecom _ for violating Section 64 of the 2001 Telecom Business Act, which requires operators to register prepaid customers' personal data.
The four companies are supposed to pay 14.6 million baht each for retroactive fines dating back from last July 6.
The NBTC also sent letters to the big three mobile operators _ AIS, DTAC and True Move _ for failing to comply with the regulation governing the validity of mobile refill cards.
The three operators are supposed to pay retroactive fines of 21.9 million baht each dating from May 30.
"2013 will be a year of focus on consumer protection," said Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC's secretary-general. "We'll revise regulations governing consumer benefits."
Starting last July 6, the NBTC stipulated the five telecoms must collect key personal information from prepaid mobile phone users. But operators have rejected the order, saying the regulation is impractical and uncompetitive as customers would not cooperate. They asked the NBTC to work directly with mobile users instead.
The operators then filed a petition with the Administrative Court, but the court upheld the NBTC's regulation.
The NBTC order to comply with Section 11 of the national telecommunications regulation regarding expiration dates on prepaid credit was issued on May 30. Operators also asked the Administrative Court for an emergency injunction, but the court sided with the NBTC.
Mr Takorn said the NBTC also sent a warning letter yesterday to TOT, calling on it to enter into an interconnection charge (IC) agreement with No.2 DTAC. IC is the rate operators charge each other for handling calls across networks.
TOT has resisted the charges because it would earn less from interconnection rates than from access charges.
DTAC and True Move stopped paying TOT access charges under their concession contracts that started in 2006.
But in 2008, the National Telecommunications Commission decided to impose a regulation governing IC rates and requiring all operators to comply with the rule.
Mr Takorn said TOT must pay a fine of almost 16.4 million baht, calculated from a daily penalty of 20,000 baht since Oct 8, 2010.
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