Friday, May 21, 2010

Thailand - The regulator has asked mobile operators to set the same on-net and off-net tariffs

[bangkokpost] The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has told mobile phone operators to fix the same on-net and off-net calling rates, saying that fixing different rates is against its regulations.

NTC commissioner Suranant Wongwittayakamchorn said that in the interests of consumer protection, there should be no differential between the two rates. The regulator has proposed a ceiling of not more than three baht per minute.

"On-net" calls are those made to the customer's own network and "off-net" calls are those made to other operators' networks.

He said that although operators had fixed on-net rates lower as an incentive to attract customers, in reality users were unable to tell which rates applied to which types of calls.

He said that fixing the same on-net and off-net calling rates would have no impact on consumers because operators could adjust their extra promotion packages.

For example, he said, an operator might add extra calling time for an on-net destination number, which will make the on-net calling charge cheaper than for off-net calling.

Pitjapol Jantanasaro, an NTC vice-secretary, said operators now had so many different promotional packages that consumers had become confused.

He said operators could redesign their promotional packages to correspond with the same calling rates with no need to increase charges to the equivalent of interconnection charges, because off-net calling was less expensive than on-net calling.

But an industry source said the three biggest operators - Advanced Info Service, DTAC and True Move - viewed the NTC proposal as interference in their business management. They argued the operators had already agreed on an interconnection charge of 1.07 baht a minute which was the lowest cost possible.

Regulator wants rates fixed

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