Law allowing formation of new regulator, 3G allocation takes effect

21 Dec 2010

The process of establishing a new regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), to replace Thailand’s existing communications watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), is finally under way following official publication of the Frequency Allocation Law in the Royal Gazette on Sunday. The law stipulates the formation of an eleven-member NBTC within 180 days of the royal endorsement. The new regulator will be permitted to allocate 2100MHz 3G mobile licences, following the stalling of the UMTS licensing process under legal challenges in September – as the existing NTC was found by a court not to possess the authority to release the frequencies. All responsibilities that belonged to the NTC, as well as its assets, permanent and temporary staff and budgets, will be transferred to the NBTC office. The NTC will meet within a few days to discuss how it will perform on behalf of the NBTC until the latter’s board is appointed, said Phana Thongmee-arkom, an NTC commissioner, who will act as an NBTC deputy member, according to the Bangkok Post. Meanwhile, another NTC Commissioner Sudharm Yoonaidharm said that the new law will prevent existing network operators from acting as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).