NBTC's prepaid fees request unheeded
published : 15 Apr 2020 at 18:48
writer: KOMSAN TORTERMVASANA
Three major mobile operators have shrugged off requests from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to lower service fees, insisting their new prepaid promotional pandemic packages suffice to ease public burden, with up to 30% fee reductions.
Their insistence was relayed when the operators met the NBTC on Wednesday upon the latter’s request for discussions to reduce service fees to assist the public assistance.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said the agency will hold talks with the operators again on Thursday to hear their justifications for their assistance packages being enough.
Earlier, the NBTC demanded all major mobile operators provide promotion packages for prepaid users with up to 30% lower fees.
The move is also meant to support work from home measures being adopted broadly during the crisis.
For postpaid service, the regulator also demands the operators extend bill payment deadlines to three months to ease hardship among the users without having their internet service cut. Bill payments can typically be delayed for only two months.
Mr Takorn said the three operators on Wednesday insisted they have recently rolled out a series of packages meant to assist people in working from home with additional solutions and lower service fees by 10-30% from the previous ones.
The companies said they have allowed postpaid customers with good payment records to extend the bill payment to three months during the crisis.
Despite that, Mr Takorn said the NBTC wants to ask for cooperation to allow all postpaid subscribers to extend bill payment to three months.
“The operators’ representatives said they need to bring the issue to executives for discussion before answering the NBTC,” he said.
According to the NBTC secretary-general, the operators said they have no problems if postpaid customers move to prepaid systems to be eligible for promotional packages.
Last Friday, the NBTC kicked off a campaign to allow mobile users to apply for 10 gigabytes of free mobile data. The scheme, which is sponsored by the NBTC, will last for a month.
The scheme received criticism on social media for operators receiving benefits through the NBTC.
Mr Takorn denied that operators are getting preferential treatment, saying the operators would receive only 100 baht per applicant from the NBTC and 10GB packages are more expensive under regular terms.