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  1. #26
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    StrontiumDog's Avatar
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    Bangkok Post : Chalerm proposes delaying NBTC's start up

    Chalerm proposes delaying NBTC's start up

    The list of 11 members selected to serve on the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) should not be forwarded yet for His Majesty the King's formal approval, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said on Wednesday.


    Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung (Photo by Kitja Apichonrojarek)

    He said it should be put on hold since the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has been assigned to investigate alleged irregularities in the selection of NBTC candidates as a special case.

    The people should know whether the allegations are true, he said.

    Mr Chalerm said he would ask Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to delay forwarding the list to the King.

    Appointed senator Somchai Sawaengkarn thought otherwise.

    Mr Somchai said if the prime minister delayed forwarding the list, it would mean another long delay until the long-awaited NBTC could start to function.

    This would affect development of the country's telecommunications sector.

    He said the prime minister might also be subject to scrutiny by the Senate and society.

    DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit, who announced the investigation this morning, said if the selection committee was found to be at fault the entire selection process would have to start over again.


    Department of Special Investigation director-general Tharit Pengdit (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

    Mr Tharit said that under the law the authority to select members of the NBTC rests with the prime minister only if the Senate fails to complete the job in 180 days. In this case, the Senate had finished the job.

    He said the DSI's investigation would look into alleged irregularities, and would have nothing to do with the 11 NBTC members who have already been elected by the Senate.

    Mr Tharit said a meeting of the special cases committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm on behalf of the premier had agreed to assign the DSI to investigate the allegations.

    The committee agreed there was sufficient evidence to warrant an investigation, he said.

    The investigation would take about six months, he said.

    Mr Tharit denied the DSI's request to pursue the case was politically motivated or that he had acted to protect himself from being removed from his position.
    "Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar

  2. #27
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    Telecom Commissioners Endorsement Seen Intact from Probe

    UPDATE : 9 September 2011

    Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung claims the Department of Special Investigation's plan to probe the selection process of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications commissioners cannot be used as grounds to delay the process for royal endorsement.

    Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung has commented on the Department of Special Investigation, or DSI's, plan to probe an allegation of misconduct during the selection process for members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, or NBTC.

    He said there is no valid reason why the list of the Senate-approved NBTC members should not be submitted for royal endorsement.


    Chalerm claimed the DSI is only empowered to investigate the selection committee, but not the NBTC members themselves.

    Chalerm reported that the government is currently working with the Council of State in order to ensure the legality of the process in order to protect the prime minister, who would be the one to seek the royal endorsement.

    The deputy premier assured that the government has no intention in calling off the appointment of the newly-selected 11 NBTC members.

    Chalerm also pointed out that the petition for a royal pardon for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was initiated by the red-shirt group, not the current administration, and whether the Ratchadapisek land fraud case would be retried is up to the court's discretion.

  3. #28
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    PM Assures Seeking Royal Endorsement for Telecom Panel Members

    UPDATE : 9 September 2011

    A deputy prime minister claims the probe into the selection process of the telecom and broadcasting panel members cannot be used as grounds to delay the process for royal endorsement.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister insists that she will forward the list of the panel members for royal approval after discussing legality issues with the Council of State.


    Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she has assigned the Cabinet secretary general to hold discussions with the Council of State following the Department of Special Investigation, or DSI's, plan to probe an allegation of misconduct in the selection process for the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, or NBTC, members.

    <snipped the rest, as it is the same as the above>

  4. #29
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    Looking after our rights

    HEADLINE MAKER
    Looking after our rights


    By Kornchanok Raksaseri
    The Nation
    Published on September 25, 2011



    Former activists Supinya Klangnarong and Prawit Leesatapornwongsa don new hats on the NBTC as they take charge of consumer protection

    Earlier this month, after more than a decade of attempting to establish Thailand's broadcasting and telecommunication regulatory agency, the Senate finally selected the 11 members of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

    While all 11 members will no doubt have their work cut out for them during their six-year terms, two in particular - Supinya Klangnarong and Prawit Leesatapornwongsa, who are in charge of consumer protection - face plenty of challenges as they shift from advocacy to authority.

    "This is the first time consumer protection representatives are formally part of a regulatory agency. I have to prove that it works. Otherwise, in future, members might only come from the technical and business sectors," says Prawit.

    In addition to opening the field to more operators to allow for free and fair competition, Prawit says it's important that members of the public are encouraged to take action and fight for their rights.

    Only two out of 100 consumers who face problems are likely to take action, he says, partly because the procedures require too much time and money compared to what they're paying, albeit unfairly, to the operators.

    "A mobile phone user might not bother to file a complaint if the transport and phone calls involved cost more than the Bt10 he's losing to the company. But multiply all those Bt10 by the number of consumers who are being cheated and what happens is that the business operator is undeservingly getting several million baht," says Prawit, adding that an effective one-stop service centre is a solution.

    Prawit, the former director of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Institute, says his role will change from helping people on a case-by-case basis to fixing problems on a much larger scale.

    "People say that when the 11 members of the NBTC are appointed, the Commission's work will progress. From my three years of experience at the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Institute, I can say that no matter how good the commission is, unless the wheels of the office turn accordingly, the commission's resolutions just get stuck in a rut," he says.

    An activist since his student days, Prawit, now 46, says he enjoys being a pioneer because "laying a good foundation is very important".

    He started his career as a director of hospitals in the provinces, went on to be a founding member of the Foundation for Consumers, and was the first director of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Institute. Prawit, backed by fellow consumer protection activists, decided to apply for the NBTC post to prevent the post being taken by a representative from the business or academic world who would do nothing to protect consumers.

    "Many candidates from consumer protection agencies put their names forward. But I'm the only to have worked in the telecommunications field. I can also start working immediately without having to study more," he notes.

    Supinya has similarly credible credentials, having worked on media reforms for more than a decade.

    A graduate of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Communication Arts, Supinya soon became frustrated that her "quality" documentary programmes were not aired because of various "factors" in the broadcasting business. She moved to the non-governmental sector and was involved in the movement calling for media reform according to the 1997 Constitution.

    Supinya hit the headlines in 2003 when in her capacity as secretary-general of the Campaign for Popular Media Reform, she was sued by Shin Corporation over comments that Shin Corp, then majority-owned by the family of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had benefited from favourable policies by the Thaksin government. Shin also demanded Bt400 million in compensation. The court ruled in Supinya's favour in 2006.

    Her appointment to the NBTC has met with criticism from certain quarters, with some citing her candidacy as inappropriate because she was one of the panel who drafted a related law.

    Supinya says that while etiquette might have been violated, she has no conflict of interest in taking the job.

    "My only concern is not being able to accomplish everything I have planned. As an activist, I have spoken a lot about how things should be. I cannot deny responsibility," she says.

    Her first task, she says, is to draw on the cooperation of all stakeholders including viewers and media business operators to share ideas and find some common ground.

    Despite her strong stands in the past, Supinya says she's learned how to compromise.

    "I used to be anti-capitalist. But I have learned that there is an inter-dependence between the media business and consumers," she says.
    She'll also be giving priority to regulating community radio stations.

    Free and fair competition is an NBTC principle, but Supinya says she fears violence will break out as competition becomes more open, especially in the community media business.

    "I'm not afraid that someone will shoot me. But I do worry about people shooting each other over business conflicts. It could be every bit as fierce as local politics," she says.

    While the NBTC has to deal with enormous business interests and it will be difficult to please everybody, neither Supinya nor Prawit are afraid of being sued.

    "If we are not sued, then we are doing nothing," says Supinya.

    "Filing lawsuits is how telecom business operators delay the effect of the commission's orders, so we're expecting to be sued time and time again," says Prawit.
    .

    “.....the world will little note nor long remember what we say here....."

  5. #30
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    Fitch downgrades Dtac's rating - The Nation

    The Nation December 20, 2011 5:49 pm


    Fitch Ratings has downgraded Thailand-based telecom company Total Access Communication Plc's (Dtac) long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings (IDR) to 'BBB-' from 'BBB'. The outlook is stable.

    The downgrade follows Dtac's announcement of special dividend payout which is projected to increase the company's funds from operations (FFO)-adjusted net leverage above 1.5 times.

    On Dec 15, Dtac announced a special dividend of Bt38.9 billion, coinciding with a potential increase in capital expenditure (capex) for 3G investment over the next three years.

    Although Fitch expects Dtac's earnings to remain strong in the medium term, a large special dividend payout and high upfront fee payment for 3G licence could raise Dtac's funds from operations (FFO)-adjusted net leverage to around 1.7 times at end-2012 from a net cash position at end-September.

    Additionally, high capex allocated to the rollout of the 3G network during 2013-2015 may keep net financial leverage at around 2 times during the period.

    Overall, Dtac’s market position remains strong. The second-largest cellular operator, with a 30 per cent subscriber market share at end-September, has improved its nationwide network coverage and defended its market share despite intense competition over the past three years. Strong growth in non-voice revenue should help offset a slowdown in the traditional voice segment, resulting in a mid-single digit revenue growth over the next three years.

    Still, regulatory risks remain, including the pending review of concession amendment and tighter restriction on foreign ownership laws. Furthermore, increase in competition in the cellular market could affect margins.

    If regulatory issues turn favourable and non-voice revenue shows sustainable improvement, this may benefit the ratings. However, the ratings may be negatively affected by higher-than-expected investment spending and/or further high dividend payouts leading to significant deterioration in FFO-adjusted net leverage to over 2.5 times on a sustained basis.

    Unfavorable changes in the regulatory structure and weaker linkage between the company and its parent may also result in negative pressure on the ratings.

  6. #31
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    are cat telecom any good?

  7. #32
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    Deal with concession issue next year, minister tells CAT, TOT - The Nation

    USANEE MONGKOLPORN,SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
    THE NATION December 30, 2011

    The two state telecom agencies should finalise plans next year on how they will deal with the approaching ends of their private cellular concession terms, Information and Communications Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap said.

    CAT Telecom owns the concessions of TrueMove, Digital Phone Co (DPC), and Total Access Communication (DTAC). The terms of TrueMove's and DPC's concession will end in September 2013, while that of DTAC will expire in 2018.

    TOT's cellular concession held by Advanced Info Service (AIS) will end in 2015.

    Both agencies will suffer revenue losses once the terms end, given that the concessions account for more than half of their total revenue.

    The 2010 Frequency Allocation Law also obliges CAT and TOT to transfer all the concession revenue to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) within three years of the law taking effect. The NBTC will pass this revenue to state coffers.

    CAT's previous board approved in principle a plan to sell the network equipment used by TrueMove back to that firm after its concession ends.

    After the concessions end, the private telecom operators have to transfer the network assets to the state telecom agencies under build-transfer-operate arrangements. TrueMove proposed to buy back its network equipment from CAT for Bt10 billion.

    Anudith said he had ordered CAT to think carefully about this issue before making a final decision.

    The chairman of CAT's executive committee, Chaiyan Peungkiatpairote, said there were many options for dealing with the end of the concessions. These included setting up a subsidiary to manage network assets itself, selling the networks back to private telecom operators, and seeking joint investment opportunities with telecom operators. The committee is waiting for management to propose the final option.

    In a separate matter, yesterday the chairman of the House of Representatives' communications and telecommunications committee, Preechaphol Pongpanit, met with Anudith to follow up on the ICT Ministry's progress in implementing the policies announced by the government in Parliament.

    The committee recently met with the NBTC to learn about possible impacts on the industry from the watchdog's plan to grant new spectrum licences and to reclaim spectra from state agencies for reallocation.

  8. #33
    Thailand Expat SteveCM's Avatar
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    Bangkok Post : True uncertainty over 3G contractsThe deal between True Corporation and its concession owner CAT Telecom has become one of the flashpoints of the telecommunications industry this year, drawing heavy criticism from veterans' groups and protests from its bigger rivals in particular.



    True will continue facing uncertainty regarding the third-generation (3G) contracts next year as a slew of investigative panels under relevant authorities scrutinise the contractual details.

    In January, CAT signed six contracts with True to provide 3G service by upgrading to a high-speed packet access (HSPA) network.

    The contract effectively extended mobile operator True Move's life by 14 years beyond the 2013 expiry of its present mobile concession.

    True invested 6 billion baht taking over Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia, the marketer of tiny mobile phone business Hutch. CAT holds a 26% stake in Hutchison.

    True reiterated the contract complies with the law. Many doubts have been cast on the ambiguity of the contract's details and the future of the telecom industry.

    The deal has raised questions over whether it breaches the Frequency Allocation Act, which prohibits a frequency licensee from transferring the resource to another party.

    A condition that required CAT to reserve up to 80% of its 3G network capacity for True using HSPA technology on the analogue 850-megahertz frequency, a clause of the National Telecommunications Commission, which has since been replaced by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which has asked both parties to abolish it within 30 days, but it has remained until now.

    The contract is said to violate the Public-Private Joint Venture Act, which requires scrutiny of ventures worth more than one billion baht between government agencies and companies.

    This case has been under consideration by a panel of the National Anti-Corruption Commission concerning whether it breaches the aforementioned law and made states benefit loss or not.

    Another investigative panel under the aegis of the Information and Communication Technology Ministry has found irregularities in the deal.

    A resolution is expected in February before the matter is passed on to relevant authorities for further scrutiny. The NBTC will rule on the ministry's suggestion.

    Many legal experts think the case will likely end up in court, while many others believe the pressure on this case will ease once the 3G licence auction for the 2100-MHz frequency goes ahead as scheduled by mid-2012.


    Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
    Position: Business Reporter

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