Thailand’s second largest mobile operator DTAC has asked the Minister of Information & Communication Technology, Mun Patanotai, to urge the cellco’s state-owned concession holder CAT Telecom to apply for permission from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to import 3G equipment, to prevent it losing the competitive edge to larger rival Advanced Info Services (AIS), reports local newspaper The Nation. AIS, which operates via a concession with state-run telco TOT, has already won NTC permission to import 3G W-CDMA cellular equipment as part of a plan to launch the service using its existing 900MHz bandwidth this year. DTAC, which hopes to introduce 3G services using its legacy 850MHz capacity, issued a proposal to CAT to upgrade its network with a 3G platform on 26 March, according to The Nation, but the former international telephony monopoly is yet to initiate any moves to implement the service. Last month the ICT ministry approved collaboration plans between private cellcos and their concession owners (including another CAT concessionaire True Move) to develop 3G services on existing spectra, following recommendations from the NTC. The regulator is expected to grant UMTS licences to offer 3G in the 2GHz spectrum band next year.