Representatives from Norway and three other countries – United States, Singapore and Australia met April 28 with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to clarify some questions over the new draft regulations on foreign dominance of Thai telecommunications companies which are now in the public consultation process.
NTC commissioner Sudharma Yoonaidharma said the diplomats had asked to discuss with regulators the proposed new law, which defines foreign control over licensed operators and the NTC believed it was important to define foreign control and shareholding following recent takeovers by international operators.
The draft regulations would affect most Thai companies which have conducted business with foreign partners. The regulations are part of the NTC’s moves to prevent foreign dominance. They face strong opposition from foreign companies, including Telenor of Norway and Temasek Holdings of Singapore.
The rule followed the overall framework for foreign shareholding under the Foreign Business Law, including the 49% limit set for telecom operators.
”The draft defines the issue of control, even though it does not fully stipulate what is permitted and what is not,” Mr. Sudharma said. ”Instead, this is an issue that will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Foreign investors should not be concerned, so long as they do not have a clear intention of violating the law.”