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NBTC threatened with lawsuit
[February 13, 2013]

NBTC threatened with lawsuit

Feb 14, 2013 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- TOT's labour union is threatening a lawsuit against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) over the watchdog's planned capacity expansion of mobile number portability.

The move is aimed at protesting the watchdog's plan to increase the capacity for number transfers of existing operators to 300,000 a day from 40,000 now, thereby helping mobile operators whose concessions will expire in September.

"This measure will result in huge damage to both TOT and CAT Telecom in the form of a heavy loss of concession revenue, as operators will be able to migrate their existing 2G customers to the new international standard third-generation (3G) 2.1-megahertz network too quickly," said Narapol Plainet, a former leader of TOT's labour union.

"It also violates Article 305 (1) of the Constitution, which stipulates the concessions or contracts of state-run organisations must be protected and their revenue not affected by any legislation." Mr Narapol said the union will soon send a letter to the NBTC's telecom committee expressing its concerns.

A petition will be filed with the Administrative Court once the migration of mobile users on networks under concessions begins, he said, adding that the union is drafting a complaint against the NBTC.

Number portability allows customers to migrate to different networks without changing existing phone numbers.

Total capacity for number transfers of existing operators is 40,000 numbers a day at present.

Mr Narapol said the three licensees for 3G service on 2100 MHz a showed strong intention to migrate their existing 2G customers under the concessions to the 3G networks under the licensing regime.

"This will absolutely cause huge damage to TOT earlier than expected," he stressed. "Without concession revenue, we expect to lose at least 10 billion baht a year." TOT last year received revenue of 16 billion baht from its concessionaire Advanced Info Service, whose concession is due to expire in 2015.

Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee, acknowledged the TOT labour union's move, saying: "The union is free to take any legal action against us." But he asked whether migration should be based on customers' own decision or on legal enforcement.

"Customers on 2G networks have the right to switch to a new 3G operator," he added.

___ (c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) Visit the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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