AIS reaffirm their unshaken principle to do whatever they possibly can to ensure service continuity to each and every customer

14 March 2016: AIS engages forward with full commitment to try in every possible way based on principle and applicability in practice in order to ensure continuity of service for each and every customer. It is revealed that AIS has submitted its latest proposal to the NBTC on 11 March, seeking consideration from the NBTC the extension to the Remedy period, as well as to request permission to utilize the un-used only 5MHz of the 900 MHz in Lot 1 with purpose to ensure the continuity of service.

Mr. Somchai Lertsutiwong, Chief Executive Officer of Advance Info Services Plc. Or AIS stated that “the very heart of all AIS employees’ mindsets in providing service, in which we have always been treasured the most, is to do whatever it takes to ensure that each and every customer can have service continuity with quality. Since the days prior to the end of 900MHz BTO contract, we realized that the transition would come and the usage of 900MHz will evolve through new scheme such as auction; therefore we have continuously been communicating to our customers to acknowledge this 2G to an enhanced digital era of 3G or 4G in accordance to the government policy. We have been heavily communicated to the remaining group of customers in 2G 900MHz to migrate to whichever operator they feel wanted, or to just simply change their 2G device to 3G/4G devices with newer technology since those days and up to even now.”

“Although, we have done absolutely and intensively in all our power to communicate of such transitional change, there are still customers who remain using number in 2G 900MHz of AIS of around 400,000, and for the AWN’s customers of around 7.6 million handsets. And recently on 11 March, True Move H who have been granted Lot 2 of 900MHz from the auction came to have paid the license fee; resulting in the intention of NBTC to order the complete shutdown of 900MHz service that AIS used to operate in, and this will have impact to customers’ being unable to continue using their 2G service on 900MHz.

Consequentially, in order to provide enough time for customers to change their handsets, AIS have submitted official Letter, expressing company’s position to oppose the final directive by the NBTC to NOT allow the extension of Remedy period through the reason regarding the NBTC Notification. In reference to NBTC Notification on Remedy Process in case of concession ending B.E. 2556, of such notification, Section 9 stated clearly that “…once the NBTC has granted the spectrum block to the new Licensee; the NBTC shall set the date of ending of the existing service, which considered as the ending of the Remedy period…” for the fairness to new Licensee to have outright use of acquired spectrum without any interference. On this, AIS has clarified to the NBTC if this shall be enforced, AIS sought NBTC forbearance to continue using spectrum in the 900MHz in Lot 1, which is still vacant of use, and this vacant block is not considered by any means to cause interference to the Lot 2 spectrum holder. Moreover, should it be enforced in this manner, it shall prove to be ‘conflict’ to NBTC’s own notification, which legitimately intended to ensure service continuity, preserve public interest, and protect customers from harm to their continuity in using the services with no limitation during concession transitional period.

In addition, during the extension of Remedy Period sought to NBTC, AIS will still deliver the revenue portion to the government as exactly as enforced by the principles of the Remedy Process Notification. And should the NBTC choose to ignore the proposed rationale in extension of Remedy Period aforementioned, the company then has also proposed possible solution to still continue to provide service to customers on 900MHz at least for the next 3 months (ending on 30 June 2016) in order to ensure service continuity, and allow the upgrade of technology through the migration to whichever service providers the customers demand. By this, AIS intends to use only 5MHz in Lot 1 of 900MHz spectrum block which is still vacant of any usage at present and because AIS customers are also on this Lot; whereas, AIS is more than willing to deliver the spectrum usage fee to the NBTC for the NBTC to deliver to the Government as national income.

Mr. Somchai added that “for the stories heard through media channels regarding TRUE Move H’s proposal to have NBTC bring their 900MHz for the use of AIS for temporary period without any fee, along with some format to have TOT support in 2G equipment and let AIS to manage operation and maintenance; as of today, we have never been officially approached from True Move H directly, but simply hearing from media channels. In addition, even it might be substantial, AIS believes these stories cannot quite apply in reality both in Legal aspect since this is the legitimacy issue that NBTC may need to consider whether it means to let other Party to collaboratively use the spectrum of the License holder or not – which may not comply with Section 46 of the Frequency Allocation Act; and also in practicality aspect – which will need sometimes in real operations to do so since currently the remaining group of AIS customers are under the vacant Lot 1 of spectrum, not the block that True Move H is holding (Lot 2) at present.

“With our strong commitment to ensure service continuity of each and every customer, in alignment with what we have submitted to the NBTC to extend the Remedy Period of such, we therefore have engaged in every possible way to ensure least impact to customers. Our actions include:

  • Providing free handsets to customers who still have 2G handsets, upgrading to either 3G or 4G technology. This campaign still is being provided even today. Customers can register to reserve the new 3G or 4G handsets for free at their respective Sub-district Administrative Organization (SAO) and local councils nationwide.
  • Providing service for group of customers holding 2G handsets to also be able to use service through DTAC’s network whereas DTAC and AIS have already came into roaming agreement without any additional cost to customers.
  • Fully engaging to expand our 3G and 4G network continuously with 40,000 MB of budget

“I therefore sincerely seek consideration of the NBTC to kindly reflect our proposed request urgently in order to create confidence to customers. We strongly affirm that each and every breath of all employees of AIS is devoted only for the sake of customers’ benefits. And that we have honestly tried all that we could in our power to take the very best care of the customers all along under the prestige of AIS as the company with corporate governance, transparent management, believer of principle as well as put priority to customers’ benefits. We have strong intention to take care each and every customer along with not a single soul of consumer to have any impact from this transitional period of new technology – which is also the government’s policy implementing through NBTC.

Therefore, we highly think all proposed solutions we submitted will be able to both take care of customers as well as comply with the legitimate Rules and Regulations at the same time; and thus such proposed solutions can be considered ‘the Proof’ of NBTC in their earnestness to preserve consumers’ rights and ensure protection to them as well.” Mr. Somchai added his closing remark.