The release of Thai TRE results by the principal researcher from TDRI, Dr Deunden Nikomborirak, and myself last week has resulted in significant media coverage, including this piece in the Nation (though I would have preferred a milder headline). A survey of Thailand’s telecom regulatory and policy environment (TRE) has given the country a score of only 2.7 out of five points, with implementation of interconnection singled out with a low ranking of 2.59 points. In the wake of the survey, criticism has been levelled at the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
According the LIRNEasia’s 2011 Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) survey, stakeholders in India, Pakistan and Indonesia have identified the telecom regulatory environments in their countries as improved since 2008, the last time the survey was carried out. In contrast, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines have seen the regulatory environments decline in effectiveness, while Thailandremains more-or-less the same. The TRE Survey asks senior level stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the telecom regulatory environment in the fixed, mobile and broadband subsectors along a Lickert scale of 1 to 5 (1 being highly ineffective and 5 being highly effective, with the mid-point of 3 being considered average performance). Seven different dimensions of regulation (market entry, tariff regulation, interconnection, universal service, anti-competitive-practices, quality of service) are evaluated by the stakeholders. This year, 349 responded participated in the 7 countries.
Our colleague who was a member of the six-country research study, Deunden Nikomborirak, has been appointed secretary to the new Minister of Finance in the interim Thai government. The news coverage of the appointment of the new Minister also mentions Deunden as one of his other pro-market colleagues. The new Minister, for example, had criticized the government’s December 2006 actions that led to capital flight. We wish her the very best in her new responsibilities. Knowing her abilities and intellect, we are confident that Thailand will be well served, even if the research community loses in the short term.