Sunday, September 22, 2019

Too much murk among the mobile companies

Dec 25. 2015
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News reports from the telecom sector have mostly been about frequencies, a field that average readers understand little. So why not give us an overview of the sector’s history that we can understand?
A policeman – a guardian of the law – becomes a telecom tycoon and then, when he becomes leader of the land, gives his own telecom company an advantage. He also hides his telecom assets and finally sells it without paying a satang in tax. How could the following have happened in the “democracy” to which some outspoken people want Thailand to return? 
What kind of advantage was his company given when he was in power? How would the telecom landscape look today without such unfair practices?
The first auction was a fixed sale in reality, regulated by one of the participants, which delayed, threatened and set the terms. It was a joke of an auction with maybe a taste of nationalism and protectionism.
Then the state-owned telecom denies private companies the chance to bid. One of the telecom companies seems to run its business by suing or threatening to sue other firms.
The last auction was irrational and raises many questions. Did one of the bidders try to outmanoeuvre its rivals by trapping them in too-costly bidding so they would become less competitive? Could it achieve the same by grabbing most of the frequencies? Or could it get trapped in its own trap? Has the sector been unfair and corrupt since the early days and is it that way even now? 
A Johnsen

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