Consultancy contracts pave way for UMTS licensing; DTAC nearer to 3G trial

10 Jun 2009

Thailand’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has selected US consultancy Nera to draw up the 3G spectrum licence auction process and to study the economic and regulatory impact of issuing UMTS concessions, reports The Nation. The two contracts, worth a total of THB27 million (USD792,000), should pave the way for auctioning four 2.1GHz band licences by the end of this year, as Nera is expected to complete both projects in the third quarter.

Also reported by The Nation, the board of state-run telco CAT Telecom has approved a plan for Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) to offer a trial 3G service on its legacy 850MHz spectrum for six months in Bangkok. CAT’s spokesman Pongsapat Pongcharoen said DTAC was permitted to launch the W-CDMA-based service on a non-commercial basis on 100 base stations. CAT (which is DTAC’s build-transfer-operate [BTO] network ‘host’) is shortly expected to request permission from the NTC for DTAC to undertake the trial. DTAC’s larger rival Advanced Info Service (AIS, a BTO licensee of CAT’s sister telco TOT) launched small-scale commercial W-CDMA/HSDPA service on its existing 900MHz spectrum in May 2008, while the market’s third largest cellco True Move (which operates under a BTO contract with CAT) launched a non-commercial trial of the same technology recently using re-farmed 800MHz spectrum.