Telenor reaffirmation to remain partner with DTAC

Telenor of Norway reaffirmed its commitment to the communications business in Thailand, DTAC, on November 25.
      Telenor remained confident in the Thai joint venture and expected it could offer attractive dividends to its shareholders, chief executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas said in Bangkok.
      Telenor holds, directly and indirectly (through SET-listed United Communication Industry) a 40.3% stake in Total Access Communication Plc, the DTAC operator, which is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. It has invested US$720 million in Thailand since 2000.
      However, the company is considered unlikely at this stage to increase its holding in TAC as it already has commitments in 12 countries outside Norway.
      In an interview recently with Bangkok post Mr Baksaas said ”With the increasing business potential driven by its innovative products and services coinciding with the first year of positive financial status of DTAC this year, we have no plan to pull out of the ventureb. Instead, further investment will be considered if any business expansion is viable.”
      Senior vice-president and chief executive officer of Telenor Mobile, Arve Johansen, said Telenor had no immediate plan to list DTAC on the Stock Exchange of Thailand since it saw no special benefit in delisting from Singapore.
      He urged the National Telecommunications Commission, NTC, to eliminate the existing revenue-sharing system between operators and state telecom agencies, and standardize interconnection fees to create a fair play for all participants.
      Currently, DTAC faced an incredibly high payment of 34% of its revenue, counting 200 baht per number per month in access charges.
      However, the rival Advanced Info Service (AIS) pays 25% to TOT Corporation for postpaid customers and 20% for prepaid users, without an access charge requirement.
      Mr Johansen also agreed with the NTC’s tentative interconnection proposal, under which operators would pay charges for customers making outgoing calls over other operators’ networks. The charge is expected to be 1.07 baht a minute.
      DTAC paid 4.7 billion baht in access charges in the first nine months of this year. It expects to save six billion baht a year once the system is changed early next year.

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