Competitiveness: Standard & Poor ranks Thailand’s telecom “Regulatory Risk” highest in Asia Pacific

actually, how bad regulation is, also depends on how sexy the regulating

  • By Pooky, Thai Intel’s economics journalist

There is this new regulatory body to regulate the Thai media. And so laws had to be written. Off course, there was a committee to write the law. But in Thailand, corruption and conflict of interest is rampant, and so some investigative Thai journalist, went to asked some of those who were writing the Thai law to govern the media, if after their work, they would enter themselves, as a member on the board of the media regulating body. The answer from everyone, while they wrote the law, was no.

After the law governing the regulatory body was passed, some members decided to enter the race as membership of the body. The same investigative journalist who got the “no” answer before, faced the answer that, quote: “Many people asked me to run in the race and so I agreed.”

What is new about Thailand?

The following is from Business Day via

Regulation risk seen to NZ telecoms sector

Last updated 17:39 16/06/2011

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s ranked the New Zealand telecommunications sector as having the second-highest degree of regulatory-driven credit risk in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hong Kong is viewed as having the lowest risk, and Thailand the highest, while India shares second highest with New Zealand, just above Australia.

A high regulatory risk score could be driven by regulatory-driven actions, that were creating material negative credit events, such as the proposed structural separation of Telecom, an S&P report published today said.

Under the proposal, Telecom’s monopoly fixed line access network assets will be separated into a stand alone regulated network company.

”Given these fixed-line access networks are a driver of strong credit quality for these entities, this separation process is putting pressure on credit quality,” the report said.

It noted that once the structural separation of monopoly fixed line networks in this country and Australia was completed, S&P expected regulatory risks to moderate and be focused primarily on regulating the fixed line access network.

The telecoms sector had long held an attraction to credit markets given its resilience to economic cycles and strong cash flow generation, the report said.

But companies were grappling with adapting to the changing pace of regulation and competition while tackling increasing demands for hefty investments in new technology.

The report also expected significant ongoing capital demands on the sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

Those funding pressures would come from a range of sources, including new network investments and potential mergers and acquisitions activity, as well as potential investments in media content and platforms to support product differentiation and provide further avenues for growth.

But, despite the pressures, S&P did not expect the sector’s generally prudent approach to financial risk management to change materially in the next few years.

”Relatively low debt levels and strong cash flow generation should allow the majority of our rated telecom companies to fund required capital investment within their current ratings.”

The country was also ranked fifth-equal from the bottom out of the 15 countries surveyed, for degree of technological development in the telecoms sector. Japan was top, followed by South Korea and Australia.


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