The three big mobile operators have united in opposition to regulations on maximum tariff rates for third- and fourth-generation mobile services, saying they distort the price mechanism and impede the operation of an open, flexible and competitive market.
The opposition was raised by Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move at a group discussion yesterday with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications (NBTC).
The operators urged the NBTC to revise the regulation governing the maximum tariff rates for 3G and 4G services in a bid to encourage greater competition and enhance further development of mobile services.
The maximum 3G rate on the 2100-megahertz spectrum is set at 82 satang a minute for voice service, 1.33 baht a message for SMS, 3.32 baht a message for MMS and 28 satang a megabyte for data service.
The maximum 4G tariff rate on the 1800- and the 900MHz spectra are capped at 69 satang a minute for voice service, 1.15 baht a message for SMS, 3.11 baht a message for MMS and 26 satang per Mb for data service.
Chakkrit Urairat, deputy director of the regulatory and government relation department of True Corporation, said local mobile operators already provide a variety of service packages to serve greater customer demand with reasonable prices.
"Our tariff rates have already been determined by the price mechanism," Mr Chakkrit said.
Narupon Rattanasamaharn, senior vice-president of DTAC, said the existing price cap regulation has diminished the development of service packages.
He stressed that competition in the local mobile market is already highly competitive, without having unnecessary measures to control the market price of operators' tariff rates.
"Enhancing operators to create a variety of innovative service packages will better promote the development of the country's mobile industry," Mr Narupon said.
He noted that other countries with the same market development level as Thailand don't impose such a maximum tariff rate regulation. Those markets in Europe and Asean allowed the price mechanism to play a function in the market.
"Mobile tariff rates in Thailand are among the lowest rates in Asean," Mr Narupon said.
A representative of AIS said the company is introducing over 1,000 promotional tariff packages to cater to all customer segments.
The NBTC should promote the quality of mobile service and effective network coverage, instead of price competition, he said.