Second-ranked operator Total Access Communication (DTAC) is being required by the national telecom regulator to compensate customers for overcharges of its applicable tariff rates.
The firm is the first found to be in violation of the 99-satang-per minute regulation stipulated by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
Taking effect in January, the rule required mobile operators to charge a maximum mobile calling tariff of 99 satang a minute on mobile voice service. The rate will be calculated on the average total price, not per minute.
NBTC commissioner Prawit Leesathapornwongsa stressed that the regulation is only imposed on telecom firms defined as significant market players (SMPs), consisting of Advanced Info Service (AIS) and DTAC. SMPs are defined by the NBTC as operators with a market share of 25% or higher.
AIS has 37.66 million subscribers, DTAC 27.2 million and True 22.1 million. Thailand has 87 million total subscribers, or mobile penetration of 110%.
Mr Prawit said even though the compensation is below 1,000 baht, comprising the return of the overcharged amount plus 15% interest, the case underlines the importance of the regulation.
The NBTC has received at least 130 complaints about overcharges on mobile tariffs from AIS and DTAC customers, he said.
"We will pass all cases to the telecom committee within 30 days for consideration," said Mr Prawit.
He urged consumers that were overcharged to file complaints with the NBTC to seek compensation and protect their rights.
DTAC's chief customer officer Chaiyod Chirabowornkul said the company will recheck the tariff packages of the customer who made a complaint.
He said the company's tariff packages were competitive with rivals, but up to 100 voice packages it needs to recheck to ensure the problem is not repeated.
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Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana & Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk