Thailand News Today | Watchdog warns True-DTAC merger will increase mobile tariffs by 240%

In a controversial move, Thailand’s telecom regulator has approved the merging of
two key mobile operators in Thailand: True and DTAC. A consumer watchdog
says the five-member committee “failed to use its authority to protect the public
interest” by turning the market into a duopoly with reining operator AIS.
After an 11-hour meeting, the five-member board of the National Broadcasting and
Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) voted 3:5 to “acknowledge” the
merger, despite fierce opposition from consumer groups, politicians, industry
experts, and competitors.
The decision will leave Thailand with only two key operators, the merger and AIS,
sparking concerns that it will undermine market competition and lead to higher
prices for consumers.
The Thailand Consumers Council (TCC), a consumer watchdog, expects that the
the merger would raise mobile tariffs for customers by 240%.
The TCC said they are preparing to file a motion with the Central Administrative
Court to launch an injunction and emergency investigation to stop the merger in its
The NBTC approved the merger despite a petition against it gaining
over 21,000 signatures. The petition was backed by politicians from the Move
Forward Party.
Despite fears that the merger will be bad news for consumers, the NBTC insists
that it was approved under many conditions including price ceilings.
True and DTAC say the goal of the merger is not to raise prices but to “invest
jointly in the country’s digital transformation.”
Under conditions set by the NBTC, the new US$7.3 billion company will be
required to install a 5G network to cover 75% of Thailand’s population within
three years and 90% within five years, said the NBTC.

Secretary-General of the TCC advised, “if the merger goes through, maybe the law
should be reformed to open the market to foreign players.”

More shelters are to be built for homeless people in Bangkok and more job
opportunities will be made available to them, particularly for those who have
recently become homeless, to improve their quality of life and reduce
homelessness, according to Deputy Bangkok Governor Sanon Wangsrangboon
(ศานนท์ หวังสร้างบุญ).
The deputy governor chaired a meeting of city officials and representatives of non-
governmental organizations and relevant agencies yesterday (Wednesday), to
discuss homelessness in Bangkok and develop ways to find shelter and jobs for
them, so they can earn incomes and pursue a normal life.
Sanon said homeless people can be divided into the chronically homeless, the
newly homeless people and those living with psychiatric problems, with the newly
homeless constituting the largest group.
If jobs can be provided to the newly homeless, he said these people will gain a
greater chance of having their own shelter and pursuing a normal life.
He said that the first priority, however, is to provide temporary shelters for the
homeless. One potential site for the building of another shelter is under the
expressway near Maha Phruttharam Temple, in the Bang Rak district. This would be
in addition to the existing shelters, at the foot of Phra Pinklao Bridge, Hua
Lamphong railway station, on Ratchadamnoen Road and at Trok Sake, which is
jointly operated by various non-profit foundations.
The deputy governor said that homeless people also need rehabilitation and jobs,
adding that certain rules have to be eased to help them find employment.
Employment, he said, is a means to solve homelessness in the long run because,
once they are employed and have incomes, they will have a better chance of
improving their lives and may not become homeless again.
He admitted, though, that solving the problem is an uphill task and it requires
public participation, adding that members of the public should not view homeless
people as a social burden, but as people who are in need of help instead.

Building in Phuket collapses due to heavy rain
A two-storey building in Phuket collapsed last night due to heavy rain. Fortunately,
tenants left the property a day before the incident so no injuries were reported.
The demolished building, located in Soi Prayoon 2 in the Talad Yai sub-district,
Mueng district, in Phuket, offers 30 rental rooms. Only eight of the rooms were
rented at the time of the building’s collapse.
One of the tenants revealed to Thairath that he heard creaking and cracking sounds
a couple of times at about 3 pm on October 19. He woke the following morning to
discover that the ceiling was cracked and reported it to the building owner.
The owner advised all tenants to vacate their rooms for their own safety yesterday
morning. It was the right decision because the building collapsed on that day at
11.30 pm.
Phuket Governor, and officers from the Department of Public Works and Town &
Country Planning, visited the incident scene to investigate the cause of the
Officers reported that the heavy rain caused a landslide on the mountain, which
came crashing into the building.
Officers made known that they would undertake a thorough investigation into the
collapsed building to determine whether it can be repaired or needed to be
Provincial officers found the displaced tenants some temporary accommodation
until they find somewhere suitable to live or the building can be repaired.
The heavy rain over the past month has caused multiple problems for the people of
Phuket. Phuket Police yesterday urged residents to stay at home unless they have
an emergency. The police also say that Phuket dwellers should avoid going to

Officials to seek approval for late closing times in Phuket
Are later closing times finally coming to Phuket?
Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports plans to test a 4 am closing time on
several tourist hotspots, including Phuket’s Bang La Walking Street in Patong,
Nation Thailand reported. The ministry will soon seek approval from the Thai
Cabinet for the pilot project there, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat
Ratchakitprakarn announced yesterday.
Other hotspots the ministry is testing the 4 am closing time: Khao San Road and
Patpong Road in Bangkok, Walking Street near Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya, Ao Nang
in Krabi, Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, and Khao Lak in Phang Nga.
Phipat said that according to research by three universities, foreign tourists who
visit night venues after midnight would spend 44% more money if the closing time
is pushed to 4 am. He added that bars in certain tourist areas were already violating
legal hours, so the project would make it legal for bars to operate.
Piphat warned that if the government delays the 4 am closing time, Thailand could
lose an income opportunity, since the tourism high season is approaching.
A survey carried out this year on Thailand’s tourism hotspots found that tourists
spend more money between 1-3 am.

Gambling addict sergeant steals 160 guns to pay off debts
A non-commissioned police officer, attached to Pak Kret district police in
Nonthaburi Province is in custody on theft charges for allegedly selling or
pawning more than 100 handguns, which he had allegedly stolen from the district
police’s store room over the past five years.
The officer, Chaowalit Poomkachorn, was arrested in the north-eastern province of
Nong Khai yesterday (Thursday), as he tried to flee to Laos, after an
the investigation implicated him in the disappearance of the weapons from Pak Kret
police station’s arms storage facility.
He has been flown into Bangkok and was questioned by Pol Gen Surachate
Hakparn, deputy national police chief.
Surachate claimed that the suspect admitted to taking 2-3 guns at a time from the
store room and then making false statements to the effect that the weapons were
distributed for use by officers at the station.
He also allegedly admitted that he had been doing so for the past five years and
that the handguns were either sold or pawned at pawnshops, which he named,
according to the deputy police chief, adding that he has instructed police to recover
the weapons in question.
Pol Gen Surachate said that the case should serve as a lesson for chiefs of police
stations, who should check their gun inventories regularly.
Meanwhile, a bag, containing 27 handguns, was found in front of the police club,
yesterday. The guns are initially believed to be part of the stolen haul being
returned by their owners for fear of prosecution.

Hope you enjoyed this episode, and you can be checked out The best places to retire in Thailand 2022! or watch a complete video Scams in Thailand – Common scams in Thailand to watch out for!

Thailand video news

Related Articles