Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn believes a merger between major mobile operators Total Access Communication Plc (DTAC) and True Corporation Plc is "normal" and dismissed speculation that it would result in a monopoly.
The minister made his remarks in a press interview about the merger of the two telecom companies.
The merger plan was approved by the companies' respective executive boards on Friday and their decisions forwarded to the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Monday.
Mr Chaiwut said the government had no authority over the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two mobile operators. Companies had the right to pursue a plan that could increase return on investment, reduce costs or improve their services, he said.
When asked whether the merger of the two telecom firms would result in a monopoly, he dismissed the notion, saying there was competition in this industry and the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission supervised it.
The minister said the merger was normal and there were several operators in this business. Investment amounts were high and concessions for use of frequencies must be sought. In some countries, there was only one operator, he said.
If there were many firms, each would invest in the business and this would lead to higher costs. People would then have to pay more service fees, Mr Chaiwut said.
The government only supervised this industry and oversaw how many operators were providing service and how their operations affected people, he added.
He insisted the merger of the two telecom firms had nothing to do with the government. The merger plan was their own business and the government would not get involved, he said.
When asked by a reporter how National Telecom (NT) -- a merged unit of state telecom enterprises TOT and CAT Telecom -- could compete after the merger of DTAC and True, Mr Chaiwut said NT had its own business and sources of revenue, and the merger would have no impact on the enterprise.