The Nation



NBTC pushes for migration of TrueMove, DPC customers

1800MHz band auction behind concern

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will push hard to enable TrueMove and Digital Phone Co to migrate all their customers to other networks before the middle of next year. This will enable the regulator to carry out its intention to auction off their 1,800-megahertz bands around that time.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit said the regulator had considered allowing both cellular operators to propose special plans to migrate customers speedily to other networks via the mobile number portability (MNP) process and other methods. The MNP enables mobile-phone subscribers to use their existing phone numbers with the new networks they switch to.

The TrueMove and DPC concessions expired in September, but the NBTC allowed them to continue serving customers for one more year to give subscribers more time to move to other networks before the 1,800MHz bands are auctioned off.

TrueMove has 13 million customers remaining in its network, while DPC had around 20,000 customers as of September.

Vilasinee Bhudhikarant, chief customer officer of Advanced Info Service, the parent of DPC, said the company planned to move all of the remaining subscribers as fast as it could to the other networks.

Meanwhile TrueMove says it will offer special service packages, including free third-generation mobile phones, to its remaining subscribers in the first quarter next year to lure them to move to the 3G networks.

The NBTC's telecom committee worries that if this customer migration is too slow, it could affect its intention to auction the 1,800MHz bands by mid-2014.

Jesada Sivarak, secretary to telecom committee chairman Settapong Malisuwan, said that in the worst case, there might be as many as 10 million TrueMove subscribers left by that time.

If so, the NBTC might have to require the winners of the 1,800MHz bid to take care these customers as well as its own.

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