Thai operators AIS, True and dtac are being sued for a collective THB22 billion ($687 million) by a consumer protection group.
The Foundation for Consumers has filed class action lawsuits against the operators on the grounds that they have illegally overcharged for calls. The group maintains that the country’s three major players rounded up call times, violating a 2016 order from the regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) stipulating that they must bill for calls per second.
Saree Ongsomwang, secretary general of the Foundation for Consumers, said that consumers “have still been exploited by the operators” despite the group pressuring the operators to bring their billing practices in line with the NBTC’s regulation.
This led to its decision to file a legal challenge in January 2017, at which time Saree estimates the operators’ disregard of billing regulations had cost subscribers around THB40 each per day between May and December 2016 – a total of THB18 billion nationwide.
At around this time, NBTC altered the original order to specify that operators were only obliged to provide per-second billing for mobile tariffs. Previously, the regulation had applied to all tariffs.
Thailand has a population of around 70 million, and according to GSMA Intelligence the country has 91 million mobile connections.