NBTC dismisses complaints True violated Dtac merger conditions

NBTC dismisses complaints True violated Dtac merger conditions
From left: Sutisak Tantayotin, deputy secretary general of NBTC; Trairat Viriyasirikul, acting secretary general of NBTC; Chakkrit Urairat, chief corporate affairs officer at True Corp; and Prateth Tankyranun, CTO of True Corp

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said that operator True Corp has not violated the conditions of its approved merger with Dtac despite complaints from customers over network quality and pricing.

True and Dtac completed their merger in March. When the NBTC formally acknowledged the deal in October 2022, it issued a list of conditions that the merged entity would have to comply with to protect consumers.

Among those conditions were that service quality would be maintained and that True would reduce the price of its services by 12% on average. According to The Nation, a number of True and Dtac users have been complaining that the service is worse and prices have not dropped.

In a press conference Tuesday, NBTC acting secretary-general Trairat Viriyasirikul said it has looked into the complaints and concluded that True hadn’t violated any of the merger conditions. However, he added True was not doing enough to communicate changes related to its ongoing integration with Dtac, the report said.

For example, Trairat said that the NBTC reprimanded True for not informing users ahead of time that it would remove and relocate certain cell sites – a move some users blamed for poor signal quality. However, the report said, NBTC has only fielded 17 complaints about True/Dtac signal quality after the merger.

Moreover, Trairat said it found no evidence that True’s pricing violated the requirement to lower price packages 12% on average, the report added.

Earlier this week, before the NBTC presser, True issued a statement saying it met with NBTC officials to show its progress on network integration, the impact on network coverage and quality, and how its current mobile price packages work.

True said that before the merger, 4G coverage of Dtac and True was 96.9% and 99% respectively, while 5G was 46.8% and 85.6% respectively. Post-merger, the combined networks now provide 99.2% 4G coverage and 90% 5G coverage.

True also said that its ongoing “Single Grid” integration plan – which aims to reduce redundant towers without reducing the total number of base stations – has already resulted in better signal quality and coverage where it has been implemented so far. Last month, True said that its Single Grid pilots in South Thailand has made 4G and 5G signals stronger and more stable.

True also told the NBTC that its pre-paid and post-paid mobile packages start at 100 baht (US$2.85), but the pricing is based on access to different combinations of digital lifestyle services – such as videos, English Premier League matches, insurance products and special offers from food & beverages brands and department stores – and the data usage such services typically generate.

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