Telenor queries conditions attached to Thai operator merger

Telenor queries conditions attached to Thai operator merger

Less than a week after the merger of Thai operators True Corp and Total Access Communication (DTAC) got the go-ahead, Norway's Telenor, which owns DTAC, has asked for clarification from regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) on the conditions it has imposed.

The deal between DTAC and rival True Corporation, which is said to be worth some $8.6 billion, had been held up over competition concerns since it was announced in November 2021.

That's not too surprising. True and DTAC have 34% and 21% of mobile subscribers, which means that the new company would have well over 50% of mobile subscribers, overtaking AIS which controls 44% of the Thai market.

Conditions imposed last week by NBTC include a price ceiling and price controls. As we reported at the time, other conditions include independent verification of operator cost structure and service fees for a minimum of five years. The NBTC also added that voice, data and message rates have to be shown separately and based on average cost pricing.

Telenor will need to comply with the NBTC demands if it chooses to complete the merger. Hence, presumably, the company's request for more detail. As Reuters reports, Telenor’s chief executive Sigve Brekke says: "We need now to understand what these conditions really mean.”