3G spectrum auction to go ahead

The Administrative Court on Monday refused a petition by Anuparp Thiralarp to suspend the 3G auction scheduled for Oct 16, and the spectrum sale will proceed Tuesday.

The court announced Monday afternoon that it did not need to immediately consider the petition for an injunction against the auction filed by the independent academic, who claims the preset regulations put consumers at a disadvantage.

Photo by Patipat Janthong

The court's ruling allows the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) to go ahead with the planned auction.

However, Suriyasai Katasila, chief coordinator of the Green Politics group, said earlier on Monday they would also file a petition with the Administrative Court, seeking a simiular injunction to block the auction of the 3G broadband spectrum.

There are three qualified applicants bidding in the 3G auction for 2100 megahertz bandwidth. They are Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), a subsidiary of the country's largest mobile operator Advanced Info Service; Dtac Network, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication; and Real Future, a subsidiary of True Corporation.

Mr Anuparp asked the court to suspend the auction until the NBTC amends its regulations to better benefit the public in compliance with Section 47 of the constitution, saying radio frequencies for telecom and broadcasting services are national resources.

His filing argued that the NBTC lacks rules that would regulate 3G network rollout in remote areas. The regulator stipulated that licence holders must expand their network coverage to 50% of the total population in the first two years after receiving a licence, and expand it to 80% of the population within four years. He asked about the other 20%.

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