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


In a controversial move, Thailand’s telecommunications regulator approved the merger of
two main mobile operators in Thailand: True and DTAC. A consumer watchdog
says the five-member committee ‘did not use its authority to protect the public
interest” by transforming the market into a duopoly with the AIS control operator.
After an 11-hour meeting, the five-member board of the National Broadcasting and
The Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) voted 3 to 5 to “recognize”
merger, despite fierce opposition from consumer groups, politicians, industry
experts and competitors.
The decision will leave Thailand with just two key operators, Fusion and AIS,
raising fears that it will undermine competition in the market and lead to an increase
prices for consumers.
The Thai Consumer Council (TCC), a consumer watchdog, expects the
the merger would increase mobile rates for customers by 240%.
The TCC said it was preparing to file a petition with headquarters
Court to launch an emergency injunction and investigation to stop the merger in its
tracks.
NBTC approves merger despite Change.org petition against it
more than 21,000 signatures. The petition was backed by Move politicians
Front part.
Despite fears that the merger will be bad news for consumers, the NBTC insists
that it was approved under numerous conditions, including price caps.
True and DTAC say purpose of merger not to raise prices but to “invest
jointly in the digital transformation of the country.
Under terms set by the NBTC, the new US$7.3 billion company will be
needed to install a 5G network to cover 75% of the Thai population in
three years and 90% within five years, the NBTC said.

The TCC General Secretary advised, “If the merger goes through, maybe the law
should be reformed to open the market to foreign players.

More shelters need to be built for the homeless in Bangkok and more jobs
opportunities will be offered to them, especially for those who have
recently homeless, to improve their quality of life and reduce
homelessness, according to Bangkok Deputy Governor Sanon Wangsrangboon
(ศานนท์หวังสร้างบุญ).
The Deputy Governor chaired a meeting of city officials and representatives of non-
government organizations and relevant agencies yesterday (Wednesday), at
discuss homelessness in Bangkok and find ways to find housing and jobs for
them, so that they can earn an income and lead a normal life.
Sanon said the homeless can be divided into chronically homeless,
new homeless people and those living with psychiatric problems, with new
homeless being the largest group.
If jobs can be provided for new homeless people, he said those people would earn a
more likely to have their own shelter and lead a normal life.
He said the first priority, however, was to provide temporary shelter for
homeless. A potential site for the construction of another shelter is under the
expressway near Maha Phruttharam temple in Bang Rak district. It would be
in addition to the existing shelters, at the foot of the Phra Pinklao bridge, Hua
Lamphong Station, on Ratchadamnoen Road and at Trok Sake, which is
jointly managed by various non-profit foundations.
The Deputy Governor said the homeless also need rehabilitation and jobs,
adding that some rules need to be relaxed to help them find jobs.
Employment, he said, is one way to solve long-term homelessness because,
once they have a job and an income, they will have a better chance of
improve their lives and not become homeless again.
He admitted, however, that resolving the issue is a daunting task and requires
public participation, adding that members of the public should not see the homeless
as a social burden, but rather as people who need help.

A building in Phuket collapses due to heavy rain
A two-storey building in Phuket collapsed last night due to heavy rain. Fortunately,
the tenants left the property a day before the incident, so no injuries were reported.
The demolished building, located at Soi Prayoon 2 in Talad Yai sub-district,
The Mueng district, in Phuket, offers 30 rooms for rent. Only eight of the bedrooms were
rented when the building collapsed.
One of the tenants revealed to Thairath that he heard creaking and creaking
a few times around 3 p.m. on October 19. He woke up the next morning to
discovers that the ceiling is cracked and reports it to the owner of the building.
The landlord advised all tenants to vacate their rooms for their own safety yesterday
Morning. It was the right decision because the building collapsed that day at
11:30 p.m.
Governor of Phuket, and officers from the Department of Public Works and City &
Country planning, traveled to the scene of the incident to investigate the cause of the
collapse.
Officers reported that the heavy rains caused a landslide on the mountain, which
came crashing into the building.
Officers have advised that they will be undertaking a full investigation into
collapsed building to determine if it can be repaired or needs to be
demolished.
Provincial officers found displaced tenants temporary accommodation
until they find suitable accommodation or the building can be repaired.
The heavy rains of the past month have caused multiple problems for the inhabitants of
Phuket. Phuket police yesterday urged residents to stay at home unless they have
an emergency situation. Police also say Phuket residents should avoid going to
Patong.

Authorities seek approval for late closing hours in Phuket
Are late closing hours finally coming to Phuket?
Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports plans to test a 4 a.m. closing time on
several tourist hotspots, including the Bang La pedestrian street from Phuket to Patong,
The nation of Thailand reported. Ministry will seek Thailand’s approval soon
Cabinet for the pilot project there, Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat
Ratchakitprakarn announced yesterday.
Other hotspots for which the ministry is testing the closing time at 4 a.m.: 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 from three universities, foreign tourists who
visiting places at night after midnight would cost 44% more money if the closing time
is pushed at 4 am. He added that bars in some 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 closing time from 4 a.m., Thailand could
losing an income opportunity, as the high tourist season is approaching.
A survey of Thai tourism hotspots this year found that tourists
spend more money between 1am and 3am.

Drug-addicted sergeant steals 160 guns to pay off his debts
A police non-commissioned officer, attached to the Pak Kret district police in
Nonthaburi Province is in custody for theft for allegedly selling or
pawn more than 100 handguns, which he allegedly stole from the district
police store for the past five years.
The officer, Chaowalit Poomkachorn, was arrested in the northeastern province of
Nong Khai yesterday (Thursday), as he attempted to flee to Laos, after a
the investigation implicated him in the disappearance of the Pak Kret weapons
police station weapons depot.
He was airlifted to Bangkok and questioned by Pol Gen Surachate
Hakparn, deputy chief of the national police.
Surachate claimed the suspect admitted to taking 2-3 guns at a time
clearance, then made false statements to the effect that the weapons were
distributed for the use of station agents.
He also allegedly admitted that he had been doing it for five years and
that handguns were either sold or pawned in pawnshops, which he named,
according to the deputy police chief, adding that he ordered the police to recover
the weapons in question.
Pol Gen Surachate said the case should serve as a lesson to police chiefs
stations, which must regularly check their weapon stocks.
Meanwhile, a bag, containing 27 handguns, was found outside the police club,
yesterday. The weapons are initially thought to be part of the stolen loot
returned by their owners for fear of prosecution.

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