Lars-Ake Norling, head of Thailand’s third largest operator dtac, defended Line Mobile from criticism by rivals, insisting the new service is merely a marketing scheme and is subject to all relevant government fees as its mainstream services, Bangkok Post reported.
Norling (pictured) said Line Mobile operates as a unit of dtac, so it doesn’t require an MVNO licence. The operator holds the rights to use the Line brand and its technology, but all the Line Mobile revenue is channelled through dtac.
Bangkok Post quoted Norling as saying: “The deal does not create a separate corporate entity or entitle Line Thailand to any part of the revenue generated by the service.”
The country’s two largest mobile players – AIS and True Move – sent letters to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) urging it to make a clear ruling on whether Line Mobile can operate the service without a licence.
NBTC set up a panel this week to study whether the Line Mobile service, which offically launched this week after running a three month beta test, is operating legally.
Norling said Line Mobile, which signed up 10,000 users, is targeted at digitally focused consumers. The service is significantly less expensive than dtac’s regular mobile service, which he said was made possible by its more efficient operating structure, Bangkok Post reported.
Dtac had a 26 per cent market share by mobile subscribers, behind second ranked True Move, with a 27 per cent share at end-June, according to GSMA Intelligence. Dtac lost 1.4 million subscribers since Q2 2016, while True Move picked up 3.7 million over that period.