The September issue of Asian Legal Business includes a story on the recent foreign dominance notification issued by Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. Building on a similar notification first issued in 2011, the new notification forbids foreign dominance in telecommunications not only through shareholding but also in management and operational roles, among others. ALB reports that the notification threatens to harm the growth of Thailand’s telecoms sector, especially with spectrum auctions on the horizon.
Of course, any harm done to the sector will depend on how the notification is enforced. David Duncan, a consultant at Tilleke & Gibbins who specializes in Technology, Media, and Telecommunications matters, provided comments on the potential impact if the notification is effectively enforced. “There are many questions surrounding interpretation and enforcement,” David told ALB. “Ultimately, if it becomes impossible for foreign investors to take a controlling position in Thai telecom firms, many investors will simply look elsewhere; many investors are not interested in taking passive positions.”