Only NBTC can block True-Dtac merger, says trade competition watchdog


The Trade Competition Commission of Thailand (TCCT) said on Friday that only the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has the authority to block the True Corporation and Total Access Communication (Dtac) merger.

TCCT chairman Sakon Varanyuwatana said his commission cannot intervene, all it can do is explain the complications of the merger to the House committee. He added that the issue needs to be considered in line with related laws and business prospects.

Sakon pointed out that there were 32 mergers last year worth a total of Bt2.1 trillion, adding that the number of mergers had doubled compared to last year and the value had risen by about 3.4 times.

He added that over the past three years, 24 complaints of unfair trade practices have been filed against mergers.

The complaints were mostly against businesses in the service, retail and transport sectors, and most complainants said they feared merged businesses would dominate the market.

Sakon added that TCCT has taken action against several cases for unfair trade practices and 14 have been hit with hefty fines by courts.

Earlier, the Thailand Consumer Council and several academics had called on the NBTC to reject the merger for fear it would lead to duopoly in Thailand’s telecom market and result in rising expenses for consumers.

They called on the current NBTC commissioners to defer the decision to new NBTC members, who will take over after getting a royal endorsement.