Thai telco regulator faces lawsuit for double taxation law

Thai telco regulator faces lawsuit for double taxation law

Summary: Satellite operators in Thailand are threatening to sue the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission over its proposal for a new taxation regulation.

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The Satellite Television Association (STA) of Thailand is opposing a proposed new regulation by National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) which will implement a double tax, and plans to bring the regulator to court.

Bangkok Post reported Friday the STA was preparing a petition for the Administrative Court against a new NBTC regulation which will charge a 2 percent licensing fee on satellite TV operators' annual revenue and another 2 percent universal service obligation (USO) tax on the same revenue. According to a report Friday on The Nation, the NBTC had finished drafting the new regulation which will go to public hearing on Dec. 27.

Bangkok Post cited STA chairman Niphon Naksompop as saying: "This regulation violates the law. It should be scrapped as the rates are too high for operators... A final decision on whether to file the petition will be made this month."

The English daily reported satellite TV operators generate a monthly revenue ranging from 1 million to 10 million baht (US$32,563 to US$325,627), with profit margins of 5 to 10 percent. In 2011, as many as 52 companies entered the Thai local satellite TV market, it added.

STA Secretary Pongchai Shanmartkit said the fees could create a barrier to entry for new market players, as small and midsize operators may find it difficult to survive in the market which will likely be controlled by the existing 10 large providers.

In November, two of Thailand's three telcos threatened to sue NBTC if the regulator further delayed issuing 3G licenses in the country. The regulator raised 41.6 billion baht (US$1.4 billion) from the spectrum auction which was held in October, but had not released the 15-year licenses because the Thai court had yet to rule if the auction was valid.

Topics: Telcos, Government Asia, Legal

Liau Yun Qing

About Liau Yun Qing

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate masquerading as a group-buying addict.

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