The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry has thrown full support behind the national telecom regulator's plan to hold an auction of second-generation mobile frequencies whose concessions are due to expire.
Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, the ICT minister, says an auction of 25 megahertz of the 1800-MHz spectrum should be held next year once the True Move and Digital Phone Co (DPC) concessions under CAT Telecom expire this September.
However, CAT chief executive Kittisak Sriprasert said the state telecom enterprise wants to reuse the spectrum for another 10 years.
He expressed surprise at the ICT minister's standpoint.
Mr Kittisak said a government committee earlier accepted a proposal submitted by the ICT Ministry that would allow the ministry to negotiate with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to seek a resolution on the frequency allocation plan.
CAT wants to keep at least 25 MHz of the 1800-MHz spectrum for developing its own businesses.
"We don't agree with the ICT Ministry about holding an auction for the 1800-MHz frequency next year," Mr Kittisak said, adding that CAT may take legal action against the NBTC if the regulator holds the auction.
Gp Capt Anudith and the NBTC chairman on Tuesday discussed unsettled issues over the 1800-MHz spectrum after concessions end.
Formal talks will be held next month.
True Move and DPC each hold 12.5 MHz of the 1800-MHz spectrum under the CAT agreement. DTAC holds 50 MHz, but half is unused. DTAC's concession will expire in 2018.
The NBTC is scheduled to auction the bandwidth of DPC and True Move next year to allocate a wireless broadband service.
The watchdog insists the two state telecom enterprises have to return the bandwidth for reallocation by auction in compliance with the Frequency Allocation Act of 2010.
An NBTC panel has produced a draft regulation governing mobile services during a one-year transition period after concessions expire. The regulator will hold a public hearing on the draft next Thursday.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter