The telecom committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has declined to approve a proposal by Thaicom Plc, the country's sole satellite service provider.
The company wants to expand the scope of its licence for the Thaicom 8 broadcasting satellite to include the 78.5 degrees East orbital slot.
Committee chairman Col Settapong Malisuwan instead yesterday agreed to pass the issue to the satellite-licensing panel.
It will consider whether Thaicom can operate Thaicom 8 under the same 15-year licence of its planned Thaicom 7 or must obtain a new licence.
The panel will discuss the issue with representatives from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry and Thaicom next month.
Col Settapong said the panel will then submit their solution to the committee for a final decision.
In June, the NBTC granted a licence for Thaicom 7, which is expected to be launched in mid-2014 in the 120 degrees East orbital slot.
Thaicom early this month proposed to the telecom committee the launch of Thaicom 8 in three years to deal with high satellite broadcasting demand.
The company now operates two satellites _ the Thaicom 4 broadband internet satellite or iPSTAR and Thaicom 5.
Thaicom 6 will this year be launched into the 78.5 degrees East orbital slot, the current location of its existing Thaicom 5.
Col Settapong said Thaicom 4, 5 and 6 are under ICT Ministry concessions.
Thaicom 7, 8 and 9 will be under a licensing platform awarded by the NBTC's telecom committee.
Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, the ICT minister, said his ministry informed the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) last month that Thailand will launch one more satellite in that orbital slot.
Section 4 of the Frequency Allocation Act stipulates communications satellites fall under the telecommunications industry, so the ICT ministry must pass the case to the NBTC for consideration.
A telecom industry source said the 78.5 degrees East orbital slot is technically the best for providing broadcasting service to Thai broadcasters.
A regulation on satellite licensing will take effect early next year.
The draft will comprise two types of licence. One is a space licence governing all businesses related to orbital slots. The other is an Earth licence, which will govern all businesses related to signals between the planet and satellites.