TOT proposes 2.3GHz LTE, tower sharing strategies

20 Mar 2012

Thai state-owned telco TOT has made a proposal to the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to permit it to operate wholesale Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G mobile broadband network services using a 64MHz allocation of its existing 2.3GHz spectrum for a period of 15 years. The company’s intention is to indirectly offer LTE via private sector mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), as per its existing 3G network operations. As reported by Telecomasia, Panthep Jamrusromran, TOT’s board chairman, is currently negotiating with the NBTC, arguing that the regulator’s previously mooted concession timeframes of seven or twelve years ‘would not allow for stability in an MVNO agreement with the private sector’ and would put off potential partners. He added that he had proposed a swap whereby TOT relinquishes 34MHz of its 2.3GHz spectrum immediately, in exchange for a 15-year permit for the remaining 64MHz. Thailand’s Frequency Allocation Act allows the NBTC to set arbitrary dates for redistributing unlicensed spectrum which is currently held by operators; the spectrum may then be treated as if it were under a licence up until the relicensing date.

TOT is also reportedly this week drafting a plan to share network infrastructure with the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Advanced Info Service (AIS), including cellular base station towers and fibre-optic backbone links.

Thailand, TOT