Telenor faces a battle in Thailand after local operator True Move filed a criminal complaint against its subsidiary DTAC, claiming the firm’s ownership structure breaches foreign investment laws.
True Move has asked the nation's Crime Suppression Division to initiate proceedings against DTAC on the grounds that foreign companies, including majority owner Telenor, control over 70% of the operator. True claims that means DTAC is in breach of a recent house of representatives report stipulating that foreign firms must not control more than 49% of domestic operators and infrastructure service providers.
The company accused DTAC of spreading shares among nominees in a bid to conceal the fact that it is foreign-owned. True Move even alleged a national security risk of having telecom infrastructure in foreign hands.
Telenor and DTAC insist the structure is in compliance with Thai laws, telling the Bangkok Post that Telenor Asia owns 41% of DTAC. A further 15% is owned by Thai Telco Holdings, which is itself 49%-owned by Telenor Asia.
Telenor also notes the law True Move cited still needs to be cleared by parliament, and that the operator is willing to comply with any changes to the law.
DTAC filed a lawsuit in April in an attempt to block True Move's planned 3G partnership with CAT, alleging the deal violates rules on public-private partnerships.