Thai Regulator To Impose 'Per Second' Cellphone Charge

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra phoned his aides from Dubai to inquire about the result of 2011 general election in Thailand, 3 July 2011.

BANGKOK – The regulatory body of Thailand's telecommunications says it will force cellphones companies to charge their customers on per-second basis instead of the current per-minute system.

Prawit Leesathapornwongsa, a member of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), said the measure is meant to end the "unfair" practice of mobile phone companies charging their customers a full minute of phone usage, even though the actual calls may take only several seconds. 

The NBTC has already agreed on the law that will require cellphone businesses to charge their customers on the "actual usage" basis, Prawit told reporters today.

"In foreign countries that see a lot of competition in the telecommunication market, the service providers usually set a promotion that charges users on the actual seconds spent on phones," Prawit explained, "It is a fair service rate for customers. Customers can choose the service of providers that are fair."

"But in the case of Thailand, the market has not seen full competition," he continued, "there are only several providers monopolising the market. So it's the duty of NBTC to step in and regulate, to prevent any unfair measures."

He estimated that per-second phone charge will save customers across the country more than 3 billion baht per month. 

The draft of the law will be submitted to the junta's reform body, the National Reform Council (NRC), for further deliberation on 5 January, Prawit added.

 

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