Telematics, Thailand, and Telecommunications

As technology and telecommunications continue to converge at blinding speed, other sectors are joining the party with equally breathtaking acceleration. An example is the automotive sector, wherein the automotive sector converges with the telecommunications and technology sectors. Anything from monitoring tire pressure, mileage usage (for example in pricing leases), to alerts on pending or anticipated malfunctions are now within technological capabilities for the auto sector. To achieve such a dizzying array of technical options, one constant is necessary, which is connectivity to communication networks.

However, and not necessarily intended at the time such laws were enacted, regulations in Thailand governing the telecommunications sector unexpectedly become applicable to the chagrin of the automotive sector. A common reaction from automotive companies is a concern to being characterized as a telecommunications operator, and thus being regulated as telecom operator, which is essentially sailing in uncharted waters to say the least. 

Nevertheless, under current law if an automobile has the technical capacity to connect with a local mobile network, and the seller of such automobile offers such connectivity as a service, the seller (the automotive company) is considered a telecommunications operator under the laws of Thailand.

As a result, a telecommunications license is required from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. This normally raises alarm bells with automotive companies out of concern there are complex licensing and ongoing compliance obligations. However, there are options to be legally compliant and have minimal compliance obligations depending upon the type of license applied for by an auto maker. In the context of current telecommunications licensing in 

Thailand the most straightforward option is to apply for what is akin to a MVNO type license, which can take between 45-60 business days to conclude with the regulator. Ongoing compliance is relatively straightforward compared to other available licensing options and does not require (in our opinion) extensive staffing for such ongoing compliance.

For more information you may contact John P. Formichella at john@fosrlaw.com

The content herein is for general information purposes only and shall not be construed as or interpreted as legal advice in any context whatsoever.