Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) and TrueMove H Universal Communication (TUC), holders of costly 900MHz licences, insisted on Thursday that any help the junta may give them on the scheduling of their licence upfront payments would benefit taxpayers in the long run.
In separate statements to the press, they said easing the schedule would save them capital that could be spent on network expansion and the development of advanced telecommunications services and technologies, which would aid in the country’s progress.
They shared the view that granting leeway on the timing of their final instalments would not represent their failure to pay the fees on the due date.
AWN and TUC asked the junta last June to invoke Article 44 of the interim charter to allow them to divide their final instalments on the upfront fees into seven tranches. AWN is scheduled to pay Bt59.574 billion and TUC Bt60.218 billion by 2020.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) recommended five tranches rather than seven and annual interest charges of 1.5 per cent.
This NBTC proposal drew objections from the Thailand Development Research Institute, whose president, Somkiat Tangkitvanich, recently said that yielding to the private operators’ request would benefit only them, not the country.
Somkiat said there was no justification for helping AWN and TUC, given that their parent companies, Advanced Info Service and True Corp, reported net profits last year. Changes in the rules, particularly if these favour private firms, could undermine investor confidence and the NBTC’s credibility, Somkiat said.
The junta is expected to decide this month on the requests.