At the beginning of 2013, Thailand’s mobile phone service fee must be adjusted and capped at 99 satang per minute as ordered by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission or NBTC. The new service fee of not more than 99 satang per minute is in line with the NBTC’s previous announcement in April 2012, stipulating a ceiling on mobile phone service fees. The said announcement obliged mobile phone operators to charge Baht 0.99/minute for calls made.
The mobile phone operators, according to NBTC member who is in charge of consumer protection and promotion of people’s freedom, Prawit, were allowed to collect the regular service fee until the expiration date of their contracts with their clients but not later than December 31, 2012.
At the start of the new year, January 1, 2013, the new mobile phone voice service fee will take effect. Mr. Leesatapornwongsa explained that the new service fee rate includes lump sum of promotional packages. This was a clarification in light for the two major mobile phone operators whose promotional packages running before the law was declared violates the new order.
While this new rate is seen as a move to protect consumers, for Thailand’s mobile phone service providers, this adjustment means significant income loss as the NBTC had capped the maximum allowed call rate to be Baht 0.99/minute. This will prompt most of them to review their promotional packages offer bundled with voice service, SMS or surfing. Furthermore, based on the new fees, they may have to limit the inclusions in their promotional packages as well to cover the discrepancy.
On the other hand, this move can also be considered as a way to change their business focus by encouraging mobile phone subscribers to use more voice services. If subscribers are encouraged to use the voice service more, the revenue opportunity for the mobile phone service providers may change and they can start realigning their strategies to capitalize on a much economical voice calls.
The decision will depend on the mobile phone service provider’s customer profile where clients use more voice calls than sms or mobile internet, they can focus their promotions towards this end. The mobile phone service providers can focus their promotional offers to highlight a much cheaper voice calls.
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