More delays for DTAC/True Move 3G plans

7 Jul 2008

GSM operators DTAC and True Move’s plans to roll out 3G mobile services in the 800MHz-850MHz spectrum bands have been delayed pending further clarification of ‘technical issues’, reports the Bangkok Post. The National Telecoms Commission (NTC) last Thursday rejected a request, made on behalf of the two build-transfer-operate (BTO) network operators by state telco CAT Telecom, that they be allowed to import 3.5G HSPA equipment to upgrade existing 2.5G base stations. NTC secretary-general Suranant Wongwittayakamchorn said CAT was seeking permission for DTAC to install HSPA equipment at 1,200 base stations, with True Move requesting 650 stations, but added that the regulator needed more information from the government-run firm on the details of reallocating frequencies for both operators. The NTC also wanted to know whether CAT had attached any conditions that might affect the NTC’s endorsement of the request. Thailand’s mobile market leader, Advanced Info Service, a BTO concessionary of CAT’s sister operator TOT, has already launched limited next-generation services in the 900MHz band over HSPA-equipped base stations. Mr Suranant explained that when TOT sought regulatory approval for AIS to import the advanced technology, the decision was fairly straightforward because it did not involve spectrum reallocation. He said if DTAC and True Move could provide more information (via CAT), then the NTC could reconsider the request this week.