NBTC issues 302 broadcasting licences, kicks off digital TV trials

8 Jan 2013

The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has issued 302 non-frequency broadcast licences to satellite and cable TV operators, bringing the total permits awarded to 318, following its approval of 16 licences in November 2012. The NBTC set a deadline of 16 December 2012 for existing satellite and cable TV operators to apply for new licences, and received 980 applications, including 609 for non-frequency broadcast channels, 24 for national network provision, 43 regional network provision and 304 local network services. Natee Sukolrat, chairman of the NBTC’s broadcasting committee, said the 302 licences approved in the second round were for 271 cable operators (local, regional and national) and 31 satellite TV operators. Previously, in the first round only GMM Grammy and Cable Thai Holding (CTH) were awarded non-frequency broadcast permits.

Alongside the licensing, the regulator also gave the Royal Thai Army, the operator of Channel 5, a licence for a digital TV trial. Natee added that Channel 5 will begin its trial immediately for residents in Greater Bangkok. The NBTC is conducting a public hearing to gather opinions for the draft regulation for digital TV licence criteria.

Also this week, the country’s pay-TV sector leader TrueVisions announced a price cut of 40% for its cheapest package, aimed at boosting the subscriber base of the ‘True Knowledge’ package by 30% to 100,000 by the end of this year. Having recently lost the English Premier League football broadcasting rights for 2013-16 to CTH, TrueVisions admitted that it needs new innovative strategies to retain customers.