The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is at high risk of a legal backlash if it pushes ahead with auctioning 1800-megahertz spectrum for fourth-generation mobile broadband service, legal experts warn.
They said a draft regulation that would allow True Move and DPC to continue operating 2G service on the 1800-MHz spectrum for another year after their contracts expire in September was constituted without legal authority.
The draft regulation overseeing mobile customers using 2G mobile service on the 1800-MHz band under CAT concessions was approved last month by the NBTC's telecom committee. It is expected to take effect before the concessions expire on Sept 15.
Under the Frequency Allocation Act, concession holders must return their spectra to NBTC after the contracts end for reallocation by auction.
The NBTC has scheduled an auction for 25 MHz on the 1800-MHz spectrum for this September.
Speaking at a seminar yesterday at Thammasat University, a panel of legal experts and professors said the NBTC is apt to face a legal backlash from mobile operators and consumer groups.
Janjira Eiammayara, a legal academic, said the draft had violated the Frequency Allocation Act, the Telecom Business Act and constitutional law, none of which allows the NBTC to extend or even shorten concession life.
Under constitutional law, CAT has the right to handle 2G mobile service after the concessions of True Move and DPC end, she said. The NBTC should not intervene in CAT, she added.
Kittisak Prokati, a Thammasat lecturer, labelled frequencies a national resource, saying no state agency is allowed to give away national resources to private firms without an auction.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter