NBTC approves master plan; spectrum conditions favour TOT

22 Mar 2012

The board of Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday approved the final draft of its telecoms ‘master plan’, a pre-requisite for moving ahead with planned 3G 2100MHz mobile licences in September or October this year. Three separate master plan documents, covering spectrum management, and the wider telecoms and broadcasting sectors, will be published in the Royal Gazette early next month as previously planned, the watchdog announced. As part of the plan the NBTC has decided to allow state telecoms operators TOT and CAT Telecom to keep existing wireless frequencies which are not covered by licences for up to a further 15 years. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, this is the length of time for which TOT had been lobbying the regulator, to allow it to develop wholesale 4G mobile services using an existing 64MHz contiguous block of 2300MHz spectrum which it holds but is not covered by a concession. TOT had been offering to return other, non-contiguous, blocks of 2300MHz spectrum in exchange for keeping its prime chunk of 4G spectrum, although the NBTC made no mention of this possibility in its latest announcement. TOT and CAT’s main licensed operating spectrum expires in 2025.