DTAC defies ICT minister on spectrum [Bangkok Post, Thailand]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 02--Total Access Communication (DTAC) insists it will not return its unused portion of the mobile spectrum to concession owner CAT Telecom for the state agency's own service as required by the information and communication technology (ICT) minister.
Jon Eddy Abdullah, chief executive of Thailand's second-largest mobile operator, reiterated that DTAC will return an unused 25 megahertz of the 1800-MHz spectrum only to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) for auction.
DTAC has 50 MHz of the 1800-MHz spectrum under a concession from CAT that will expire in 2018.
"The unused portion should be auctioned for fourth-generation (4G) mobile service only in compliance with the law, not for CAT's own service," he stressed, adding that the Frequency Allocation Act stipulates that spectra can only be allocated via an auction.
Gp Capt Anudith Nakornthap, the ICT minister, and the NBTC agreed in principle to reallocate existing spectra under concessions and said several spectra have not been used to their full capacity.
He cited Section 84 of the Frequency Allocation Act, which stipulates the NBTC has the authority to reallocate spectra that have not expired.
The constitution and the Telecommunications Business Act also allow the regulator to reallocate unused spectra.
The ICT minister wants to give CAT the unused portions of DTAC's spectrum in order to help the state telecom survive once its concessions to True Move and Digital Phone Co expire on Sept 15.
Mr Abdullah said an auction of the unused portion would provide the maximum benefit to the country.
The spectra are a national resource and should be reserved to benefit the country and not just a single party, he said, adding that DTAC will discuss the issue with the NBTC and the ICT Ministry soon.
Gp Capt Anudith insists a reallocation of spectra is needed in order to encourage CAT and TOT to find new revenue streams once concessions end.
It would also speed up the roll-out of commercial 4G service.
Deunden Nikomborirak, the Thailand Development Research Institute's research director, said the planned year-long delay in auctioning the 1800-MHz spectrum will likely result in opportunity losses ranging from 112-157 billion baht for the industry and the overall economy.
Auctioning 25 MHz of DTAC's 1800-MHz spectrum could generate 22.5 billion baht for the NBTC, she said.
(c)2013 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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