3G licensing on track for early 2010

10 Sep 2009

Thailand’s National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) yesterday approved draft procedures for the country’s long-delayed 3G mobile licence auctions, reports Reuters. Prasert Apipunya, the regulator’s deputy secretary-general, said that the 2100MHz network operating concession sale will begin by the end of the year, hopefully leading to licences being awarded in early 2010, as previously announced. Under the draft plan, the NTC will issue four concessions, with one licence of 15MHz bandwidth and three permits of 10MHz, he said, which would allow all three privately-owned GSM operators, AIS, DTAC and True Move, to gain frequencies, whilst leaving room for a proposed joint venture between state-run CDMA provider CAT Telecom and an as yet unnamed strategic partner. CAT’s sister telco TOT is currently the sole owner of 2100MHz spectrum via subsidiary Thai Mobile, and plans to launch commercial retail and wholesale 3G services in Bangkok this December. The NTC has scheduled a public hearing for 28 September for interested parties to contribute opinions on the licensing, Prasert told reporters, adding, ‘After the public hearing, we will gather information for the NTC to consider. Then the 3G regulations will be announced in the Royal Gazette, paving the way for the auction to be held this year.’