NBTC pledges pricing of 3G services to be lower

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BANGKOK, Oct 22 – The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and National Telecommunications Committee on Monday jointly announced that consumers can be rest assured that the pricing of 3G services will be 15-20 percent lower than current prices.

Colonel Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC’s telecom committee said the committee has not yet awarded licences to any of three private operators who won last week’s auction, stipulating that they must first accept conditions to protect consumers’ interest set by the NBTC.

The key conditions require that all operators must set service rates for both voice and data at least 15-20 percent lower than the current prices. The telecom committee will supervise and ensure the quality of services with all three major private operators–Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communications (DTAC) and True Corp– submitting a plan concerning corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Col Settapong said all winning bidders must accept the first three conditions before being awarded the licences.

NBTC secretary-general Thakorn Tantasit explained that the lowered service rates was calculated from the current service rates of all three main operators at 899 baht per month. If the 3G service price is lower than the current price 15 percent, that could save consumers about 4.5 billion baht a month and 6 billion baht a month if the service rate is 20 percent lower.

The conditions also require the NBTC to set up a working group to examine bidding process of those operators to ensure transparency. The regulatory agency will also improve its procedures to immediately respond to any complaint from the public. An arbitration will be set up to settle any possible dispute effectively and fairly.

Regarding the examination of any irregularities in the bidding process, it is expected to take about 15 days to finish and the telecom committee will take 7 days to consider the results. If no irregularities are found, then the licences will be awarded to the operators.