Thailand’s telecommunication regulator decided to “acknowledged” and approved the merger between True Corp. and Telenor’s Total Access Communication (DTAC), but with conditions attached.
The conditions to be applied to the merger include service price controls and ceilings, independent verification of the cost structures and service pricing by experts for at least five years post-merger, and separate rates to be charged for voice, data and messaging services, annoucned National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
Even though there were several protests from consumer groups previously stating that the merged entity is a violation against Thai Telecom law and could cause harm to consumer protection and privacy, NBTC affirmed that the conditions set are for “consumer protection.”
After a 10-hour long discussion on Thursday, 20 October 2022, the decision came out with the vote of 3:2 in favor of the merger plan, ThaiPBS World reported.
The merger will leave Thailand with only two key operators: Advanced Info Service (AIS) and the newly merged entity.
According to Bangkok Post, the combined entity will overtake AIS as the market leader. True and DTAC currently have 34% and 21% of the country’s mobile subscribers, respectively. AIS controls 44% of the market.
Nevertheless, the NBTC board must see that the merger will not lead to a duopoly of the telecom business or unfair competition surely before making the approval.