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DTAC offers free call to affected customers

Total Access Communications (DTAC) today announces conditional free services to ease customers' outcry over yesterday's service disruption.

Posted on its website: "For prepaid customers, get free calling credit within Dtac numbers for 80 minutes from 11pm-5pm, valid for 7 days. To get this privilege, dial *10250. For post-paid customers, get free calling credit of 100 minutes to any network or 7-day free unlimited internet. To get the privilege, dial *1737."

Customers must make the calls before the end of this month to get the free call/service.

The network failure yesterday could draw it a heavy penalty.

"We will definitely slap a fine on DTAC because this is the fifth network failure in the past year.

"The fine can be in the eight digits or about Bt20 million to Bt30 million," said Takorn Tantasit, secretary-|general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

The watchdog will set up a committee to set the exact fine within four days, he said. The DTAC network has gone down many times. If the watchdog declines to take any strong measure, this will affect its image. It will take a harsher action to punish the carrier if its network crashes again, Takorn said.

He said he believed this fine should be based on Bt1 per number and the 130 million mobile-phone users in Thailand, since the network failure yesterday also inconvenienced customers of other networks, who could not contact DTAC's customers.

The regulator will cite Article 33 of the Telecom Business Law, which requires cellular operators to maintain network quality or face a fine of Bt20,000 per day. DTAC has the right to appeal the fine.

The second-largest cellular operator has some 24 million subscribers.

The NBTC summoned DTAC executives for an urgent meeting after the problem occurred.

DTAC said in a statement that one of the several pairs of MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) signalling routers at the Rangsit Switching Centre had developed a fault, resulting in combined downtime of 65 minutes around noon. The mishap affected about 20 per cent of customers in various parts of the country.

"The fault has been fixed and service has now returned to normal. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused," it said.

After many network failures, the NBTC issued an order to DTAC on May 28 to prevent more breakdowns. The company appealed against the order, but the NBTC's telecom committee declined to accept the appeal.

Last December 21, DTAC experienced a network fault that was the result of a critical migration of data from one database to another. On January 5, it experienced another network fault that affected many customers in the southern provinces, who were affected by yet another incident three days later.

On May 4, DTAC's main fibre-optic trunk in the upper North and a backup line failed, disrupting communication services to many subscribers in the area.


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