NBTC backtracks on per-second billing; TOT loses less money than expected

per-second billing
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The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has sort of backtracked on its earlier order of 17 May 2016 requiring all telcos to adopt per-second billing.

This was strongly opposed by the telcos, and many made fun of the confusing packages that came out. Eventually the order was ignored by all operators.

In its first board meeting of the new year, the regulator ordered operators to have more than half their plans with per-second billing so that the customer can make their own choice.

However, the NBTC Secretary General told reporters that the NBTC had not caved in to pressure from the telcos, and said that the new board resolution did not replace last May’s one. He even quoted the Buddha and said that this was a case of the NBTC walking the middle path.

Takorn said that once the order was formally signed, any telco not complying would be punished and fined. None of the telcos complied with the May order and the NBTC has done nothing about it until now.

TOT loses less money than expected

In other news, Thailand state telco TOT has announced its FY16 results, with losses coming in much lower than expected.

Revenue stood at $871 million (30,800 million baht) and expenses at $825 million (29,200 million baht), leading to an EBITDA profit of $45 million (1,617 million baht). Total losses after those were factored in came to $164 million (5,800 million baht), which is considerably better than its forecasted loss of $396 million (14,000 million baht).

TOT CEO Montchai Noosong credited the 10-billion baht turnaround to effective cost cutting and the AIS partnership agreement. The leasing of cell sites and 2G infrastructure bought in $268 million (9.5 billion baht). For 2017, he said that TOT would finalize a long term partnership with AIS for the 2100-MHz band.

Allan Rasmussen from consultancy Yozzo noted that TOT’s market share for mobile subscribers fell to 0.18% (653,000 subs in a market of 84.7 million) – down from 0.77% last year. This is all the more incredible considering that TOT had a head start in 3G (receiving 10 MHz of 2100-MHz spectrum for free) from December 2009 until 2013 before private sector operators received any spectrum.


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