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PM seeks ways to scrap cellphone amendments


PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to prepare suggestions for Cabinet on how to scrap the sixth and seventh amendments of the expired cellular concession of Advanced Info Service (AIS), one of the largest mobile phone operators in Thailand.

The two amendments are among the cases cited by the Supreme Court in its 2010 finding of abuse of power by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. 
A ministry source said yesterday that as the two amendments were deemed contrary to the national interest, they should be rescinded by the Cabinet, even though the concession ran out in September of last year.
The ministry has sent a letter to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Auditor-General’s Office, Attorney-General’s Office and TOT calling for a meeting to be held today. 
The letter states that the premier has ordered the ministry and state agencies to discuss the matter.
Wilailuck Chulewatanakul, permanent secretary of the ministry, said the meeting would wrap up the review of AIS’ concession. She declined to elaborate.
TOT has amended AIS’ concession many times.
The sixth amendment, made in May 2001, lowered the concession fee for AIS’ prepaid service from 25-35 per cent to a flat rate of 20 per cent for the remainder of the concession. 
The seventh amendment, in September 2002, allowed AIS to deduct its cost of roaming on other telecom operators’ networks from gross revenue in calculating its concession fee to TOT. AIS is the flagship of Intouch Holdings, formerly known as Shin Corp, which was founded by the Shinawatra family.
In the middle of last year, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, also ruled some TOT executives were guilty of allowing the two concession amendments.
 

Published : December 21, 2016

By : USANEE MONGKOLPORN THE NATION