Another step on 3G road: Senate approves unified regulator law

27 Apr 2010

The Thai Senate has approved the draft law on the establishment of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), reports local newspaper The Nation, in a move which clears another fragment of red tape in satisfying the necessary conditions to hold a long-overdue 3G mobile licence auction. The Senate also set up a 35-member committee, chaired by PM’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtaey, to review the bill, which should be completed in 30 days. The NBTC will be made up of eleven commissioners, including two telecoms industry experts, two lawyers, two economic specialists, two consumer protection officials (one each for telecoms and broadcasting), and one expert each in the areas of radio, TV and education/culture. The selection process will involve qualified organisations proposing 22 names and a 15-member committee, comprised of representatives from state agencies and ministries, proposing another 22 qualified personnel. The Senate will then appoint those chosen and officially form the NBTC. An auction of 2100MHz network operating licences is tentatively scheduled for November 2010; existing telecoms regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has had its hands tied by a legal dispute over its jurisdiction to issue 3G licences ahead of the delayed formation of the new unified telecoms and broadcasting watchdog.