Administrative Court accepts lawsuit against NBTC over True-DTAC merger


The Central Administrative Court has accepted a lawsuit filed by the Thailand Consumers Council (TCC) against the telecom watchdog seeking to block the merger between two telecom giants.

The court announced on its website that it made a decision on November 10 to accept the lawsuit of the TCC against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and NBTC Office for a judicial review.

But the court initially refused to issue a stay on the merger between True Corporation and Total Access Communication (DTAC) as sought by the TCC.

The court reasoned that it would wait for True and DTAC to file a counter-suit against the TCC plea before making a decision on issuing an injunction.

The court explained that True and DTAC are parties that can be affected by the trial so it would have to listen to accounts of the two companies before it would make a decision on the request for an injunction.

The court said it had held a meeting on November 11 and appointed the advocacy judge in charge of the case.

In the suit, the TCC alleged that the NBTC and the NBTC Office had violated the telecom law and issued unlawful administrative orders related to the NBTC’s decision to acknowledge the True-DTAC merger on October 20.

The suit claimed the decision would affect users of over 118 million mobile phone numbers, including 60 million numbers of True and DTAC, and the NBTC had failed to listen to opinions of the users before making the decision.

The suit alleged that the decision was made without taking into account the findings of a foreign advisory firm hired by the NBTC Office to study the pros and cons of the merger.

It also alleged that the chairman of the NBTC had violated the NBTC meeting regulation by casting a vote to break the a 2-2 tie. One NBTC member had abstained.

The lawsuit also alleged that the NBTC’s decision violated its own directives on telecom firms’ merger and violated its charter that requires the watchdog to prevent monopoly and unfair trade practices in the telecom industry.

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