The telecoms committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has rejected TOT’s revised 2300MHz mobile broadband wholesale proposal, The Nation reports. NBTC commissioner Prawit Leesatapornwongsa told the news site that the committee was concerned that the state-backed telco’s plan risks violating Article 46 of the Frequency Allocation Law, which requires licence holders to operate frequencies independently, instead of allowing third parties to assume the responsibility.
To date, 13 companies have picked up the terms of reference to bid to become TOT’s partner, including Advanced Wireless Network, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS); DTAC TriNet, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication; and TrueMove H Universal Communication and Real Move, both part of the True Corp group. TOT had expected to take 60 days to select a 4G partner by a ‘beauty contest’ method, with the firm or consortium with the best overall technical and commercial proposal winning. A binding contract is expected to be signed in the third quarter of 2017, with network deployment commencing in 4Q17.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in August 2016 the NBTC rejected TOT’s initial proposal as lacking in essential details, such as a network rollout plan, a timeline for soft and commercial launches and a clear roadmap of bandwidth allotment, prompting the telco to go back to the drawing board. In October 2015 the NBTC gave TOT the green light to develop 4G services using its existing 2300MHz spectrum for a ten-year period. The authorisation was designed to help TOT create new revenue streams to offset lost build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession revenues, the watchdog claimed at the time. It has been suggested that the NBTC will revoke the frequencies if the 2300MHz network is non-operational by end-2017.