The board of the national telecom regulator agreed yesterday to allow both state telecom enterprises and private mobile operators to handle second-generation (2G) mobile services during the one-year transition period after their concessions end next month.
The decision by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is likely to end a dispute with CAT Telecom.
CAT threatened to take legal action against the NBTC if it allowed mobile operators to handle customers on the 1800-megahertz spectrum for networks with concessions due to expire on Sept 15. The state telecom enterprise insisted it has the right to handle 2G mobile service during a one-year transition after the expiration.
Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee, said the move is aimed at protecting consumers and preventing possible signal cut-off after concessions expire.
The concessions of True Move, a unit of True Corporation, and Digital Phone Co, a unit of Advanced Info Service (AIS), are due to expire on Sept 15. The companies have a combined 17 million customers on the 1800-MHz frequency.
The regulator added an appendix to mobile concessions between CAT and True Move as well as TOT and AIS to be in compliance with telecom laws. Col Settapong said the appendix required concession owners and concessionaires to inform the NBTC 90 days before their concessions expire, compared to 60 days required earlier.
The new condition is in compliance with the draft regulation governing mobile services disruption after concessions expire, he said.
Sutipol Thaweechaikarn, an NBTC commissioner, said the condition closes the legal loophole that would have allowed a legal challenge by CAT.
It is in line with Section 15 of the Frequency Allocation Act, requiring the regulator to amend contracts to protect the public interest.
About the author
- Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter