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Thailand’s NBTC bullish on future of Telcoms in Kingdom

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the telecommunications business has not grown as substantially as anticipated. However, based on a forecast of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (the “NBTC”), the business should have an opportunity to grow in the near future. One of the rationales behind such forecast is that there are many competitive players operating in the telecommunications market in Thailand and those who are interested in participating in such a market –including both state owned and private, domestic players, and especially those international players.

Therefore, to welcome foreign telecommunications players to invest in Thailand, the Ministry of Commerce plans to exclude certain types of the telecommunications business from the list of foreign-restricted businesses under Thailand’s Foreign Business Act. That is, subject to a ministerial regulation through which such exclusion would be implemented, a foreigner (including a foreign-registered entity and a Thai-registered, foreign majority-owned entity) would be allowed to operate certain types of the telecommunications business without having to obtain a license or certificate under the Foreign Business Act. 

However, despite such exclusion, an operator of the telecommunications business still needs to obtain a Telecom License before operation, as required by the Telecommunications Business Act (the “TBA”), pursuant to which a foreigner is precluded from obtaining certain types of Telecom Licenses.