Updated: June 2015
In Thailand, Total Access Communication PCL (DTAC) was established in 1989. Telenor became a shareholder of DTAC in 2001. DTAC offers mobile voice, roaming and value-added services to its customers through contract and prepaid tariff plans. DTAC was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (the SET) on 22 June 2007 and became the only Thai company listed on both the Singapore Stock Exchange and the SET. As at 31 March 2015, Telenor holds 42.6% of the total issued shares in DTAC. As at 31 March 2015, DTAC is the second largest mobile communications provider in Thailand, with an estimated subscription market share of 29% or 28.4 million mobile subscriptions. Of these subscriptions, 87% are on prepaid tariff plans. As at 31 March 2015, the mobile penetration (SIM cards) and number of inhabitants in Thailand are approximately 146% and 67 million, respectively.
DTAC operates on 1800 MHz and 850 MHz under a concession agreement with CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT) (formerly the Communication Authority of Thailand). DTAC’s concessions will expire in 2018. Pursuant to this arrangement, CAT has granted DTAC the right to build, transfer and operate a mobile network in Thailand. In return, DTAC has an obligation to build up a network and then transfer the ownership of the telecom equipment of the network to CAT and pay a concession fee, or revenue share, to CAT. The revenue share payable to CAT was increased from 20% to 25% in September 2006, and was further increased to 30% in September 2011.
A 2.1 GHz spectrum licence was granted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on 7 December 2012 to DTAC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, DTAC TriNet (DTN), for the provision of cellular mobile phone service. The spectrum licence period lasts 15 years and will expire on 6 December 2027. Under the 2.1 GHz licence conditions, DTN has an obligation to roll out a network to cover 50% of the population within two years and 80% of the population within four years. DTN launched the 3G 2.1 GHz services in Q3 2013 and DTAC is now offering 3G services on 850 MHz spectrum band and, through DTN, both 3G and 4G services are offered, on 2.1 GHz spectrum band. 4G services were launched in May 2014.
As at 31 March 2015, DTAC had 7,700 3G 850 MHz, 12,500 3G 2.1GHz and 3,000 4G 2.1GHz base stations covering all 77 provinces across Thailand.
In early 2007, the implementation of interconnection charges reshaped the Thai telecom industry. The operators, after entering into an interconnection agreement, adjusted to the new environment by offering differentiated off- and on-net tariffs. Following implementation of the interconnection agreement, prices remained fairly stable until a 55% reduction was implemented in the third quarter of 2013. As at 31 March 2015, the market- leading mobile operator in Thailand is Advanced Info Service plc (AIS), with an estimated subscription market share of 46%. The other mobile operators in Thailand are True Move and Truemove H (following its acquisition of Hutchinson-CAT Wireless Multimedia in 2011), the third largest mobile operator, with a subscriber market share of approximately 24%.The other mobile operators in Thailand are small with market shares of less than 1% each, including CAT and TOT Public Company Limited (TOT) (formerly The Telephone Organisation of Thailand, the state-owned fixed-line operator).
On 17 May 2006, the then National Telecommunications Commission (now the NBTC) issued the Notification on Access and Interconnection of Telecommunications Network of 2006 (Notification) applicable to telecommunication licensees operating a telecommunications network, requiring licensees to interconnect with each other on request. The interconnection provider is entitled to apply an interconnection charge that reflects its costs.
A new interconnection framework for Thailand became effective on 18 May 2006 for all licensed operators, including those operating under concessions. As a result of this change in law as well as its effect on prior agreements, DTAC (as well as all other licensed operators) submitted their Reference Interconnection Offer (RIO) to the NBTC, which provides for bilateral negotiations on interconnection prices among fixed-line and mobile operators in Thailand. On 17 November 2006, DTAC served notice on TOT and CAT stating that the prior access charge agreements have been superseded by the new RIO rates and that DTAC was no longer required to pay the rates agreed to under the Access Charge Agreement previously entered into with TOT. Following the submission of the notice to TOT and CAT, the rate to be paid under the Access Charge Agreements was to be either a rate agreed by the parties in accordance with the RIO or an interim rate to be announced by the NBTC.
On 9 May 2011, TOT filed a lawsuit demanding that CAT and DTAC jointly pay certain unpaid access charges pursuant to the previous interconnection framework in place prior to 2006. Further details are set out in “Legal Proceedings – DTAC” below.