New Thai government reviews low-cost mobile phone service

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A proposed low-cost mobile phone service in Thailand is hanging in the balance after newly appointed Prime Minister ThaksinShinawatra announced he would review the project.

His decision comes after ACT Mobile Co., a joint venture between the Communications Authority, the Aeronautical Radio and the Telephone Organization of Thailand, signed a $67 million contract with suppliers.

ACT planned to bill its customers a $7 monthly service charge, compared with $12 by other operators. Among these operators is Advanced Information Systems Co., a company owned by Mr. Thaksin, who was named prime minister Feb. 11.

In the past, consumers had repeatedly complained that the few existing operators had established a quasi-cartel with inflated service charges.

"It is the policy of the new government to not only review this project, but also all other state projects involving investment capital of more than $24 million," the prime minister said.

Copyright February 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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