The telecom regulator is considering bypassing fourth-generation mobile technology and jumping straight to 4.5G in a drive to lead the region in wireless technology.
True Move employees test 4GLTE at the launch earlier this year. The NBTCnowwants to skip 4Gin favour of LTE Advanced 4.5G. PHRAKRIT JUNTAWONG
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) wants to auction 25 megahertz of the 1800-MHz spectrum previously used by True Move and Digital Phone Co along with 17.5 MHz of the 900-MHz spectrum in use by Advanced Info Service (AIS).
Both frequencies would be reserved for auction under the package bidding concept next September to provide 4.5G service using Long-Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced technology.
Package bidding, a common practice internationally, allows bidders to make a single bid for a group of frequencies or licences.
AIS's concession with TOT Plc is due to expire in 2015. Total Access Communication has its own TOT concession that expires in 2018.
Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee, said the panel is conducting a feasibility study of package bidding.
"If we come up with a resolution to use the package measure, Thailand could jump straight to 4.5G mobile broadband and bypass 4G technology," he said.
The telecom panel has hired the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to study auction methods, estimate the value of spectra, set up reserve prices for licences and draft licence conditions.
The ITU will submit the study to the NBTC in December, said Col Settapong.
The ITU has proposed three auction designs _ auctioning frequency separately, package bidding on the same frequency band or package bidding on different frequencies.
LTE Advanced is the latest standard in high-speed mobile broadband.
Telstra, an Australian fixed-line and mobile firm, is preparing to launch 4.5G commercial service, while mobile operators in Japan and South Korea will roll out LTE Advanced service this year.
Col Settapong said LTE Advanced is workable on two spectrum bands.
The combination of the 900- and 1800-MHz spectra could provide greater flexibility and more alternatives for bidders.
The panel will draft regulations to govern the auction process. A public hearing and mock auction will take place between January and May of next year.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter