Friday, August 12, 2011

Thailand - Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap is the new Minister of ICT, promises to sort out concessions

[Bangkok Post] The new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister says reorganising all mobile concessions will be one of his first tasks aimed at addressing past illegal concession amendments.

Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap was royally endorsed on Tuesday to head what he admitted is a ministry of choice.

He said he would make a nationwide broadband network a top priority in order to narrow the digital divide so that the technology is available to urban and rural communities alike.

"Under my leadership, a level playing field will be created for all telecom companies in terms of regulatory framework and concession terms so that ICT is accessible and affordable to all Thai citizen, serving the nation's interests," he told the Bangkok Post.

"I will not take sides with or favour any company, even the mobile leader AIS. Any company found guilty of wrongdoing will be subjected to the same rule and law.

"I have no particular loyalty or agenda with any company."

Gp Capt Anudith also said the probe into DTAC's nationality, initiated by its rival True Move during the previous government, would continue.

"If the country's second-largest mobile operator is found guilty of using nominees, an act in violation of the Foreign Business Alliance Act [action must be taken]. [Investigation into the shareholder structure of] AIS would be no exception either."

Gp Capt Anudith, former leader of the Royal Thai Air Force's F-16ADF squadron, has the full backing of Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan - a former key member of Thai Rak Thai who retains a strong influence in Pheu Thai though she is currently banned from politics.

Bangkok MP Anudith also said that he wanted to erase the negative image of the two state telecom enterprises, TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, by restructuring and reorganising them to make them fit for the highly competitive telecom market.

He indicated that the ministry would complete and announce key plans next week to drive ICT expansion, strengthen the ICT master plan, as well as a policy and legislative framework aimed at addressing the sector's problems by creating a level playing field for everyone.

New ICT minister vows to sort out concession mess

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