NBTC finally to begin work on 3G plan

10 Oct 2011

Thailand’s new combined telecoms and broadcasting regulator, the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) formally begins working today, following royal endorsement of its eleven members. The Commission has a priority to form plans for liberalisation, including issuing 3G 2100MHz licences to private sector mobile operators. Setthapong Malisuwan, vice-chairman and head of the telecoms committee of the NBTC, announced that a 3G auction could begin ‘in the middle of 2012’ if no further delays arose. He added that the new regulator must also focus on issuing additional frequencies for 4G services. Legislation to form the NBTC was passed in December 2010, after a previous attempt at 3G licensing was blocked in September; a court injunction prevented the old regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from issuing UMTS frequencies as under law the nascent NBTC was the only authority allowed to do so.