NBTC panel likely to sting Line Mobile

NBTC panel likely to sting Line Mobile

Branding, online registration violations

Line Mobile's service is likely to violate the licensing regime as its brand image is not clearly delineated as the second brand of mobile operator Total Access Communication (DTAC), according to a panel of the telecom regulator scrutinising Line Mobile's operation.

Line Mobile's online registration system and its brand awareness are two major points the panel took issue with, said a source at the panel.

The panel was set up by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) in September to scrutinise Line Mobile's operation and whether it is required to hold a telecom licence.

The move came after two major mobile operators, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move, submitted letters to NBTC urging a clear resolution on whether Line Mobile can operate without a licence from the regulator.

The panel completed probing Line Mobile's business and submitted a report to the NBTC office yesterday for further consideration after studying the company's operations, advertising, and user subscriptions.

The source said Line Mobile's brand did not appear to be a second brand of DTAC that is fully owned and operated by its subsidiary, DTAC Trinet (DTN).

NBTC regulations for mobile service registration require users to show their ID card at service shops, but Line Mobile allows customers to do it online.

The regulations also require all operators to unveil all essential information about their services to customers to protect consumers' right to know.

Line Mobile launched its digital mobile service on Sept 19, claiming it is independently owned by DTN, a subsidiary of DTAC in collaboration with Line Thailand.

Line Mobile insists it is a second brand of DTAC, fully owned and operated by subsidiary DTN, including spectrum and operation management.

Voice and data services for Line Mobile are operated by DTN, with Line granting the right to use its brand name to DTN for a royalty fee.

Line Mobile insisted the government still receives full licensing fee revenues because it will be transferred to DTN, who holds a mobile licence from NBTC.

Line Mobile made a splash upon market entry by claiming users can enjoy lower prices and free Line services, including Line Messenger, Line Calls, and Line Video Calls, as well as watch Line TV without data quota losses.

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