NBTC cleared to issue 3G licences this month
- Published: 3/12/2012 at 04:57 PM
- Online news:
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is now expected to issue 3G licences to the three spectrum auction winners this month, after the Administrative Court on Monday rejected the Ombudsman's petition to halt the licensing process.
The judge ruled that the Ombudsman was not an affected party and had no right to act as plaintiff, so the case was rejected and removed from the filing.
With the ruling, the NBTC can go ahead with issuing the licences within 90 days after the approval of the bidding process, or by Jan 19.
Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the regulatory body's telecommunications committee, said he expected the licences would be issued sometime this month, December, according to INN News.
He said the 3G service will then be available three to four months later, starting with the large cities.
On Nov 8, the Office of the Ombudsman asked the court to suspend the granting of the 3G licences, claiming the auction lacked free and fair competition as required under the constitution.
Anuparb Thiralarp, an independent academic, told FM100.5 on Monday morning that although the NBTC survived the challenge by the Office of the Ombudsman, the telecommunications regulators must ensure transparency and fair competition for the next rounds of spectrum bidding.
The Office of the Ombudsman said it will consider whether to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Administrative Court.
The NBTC sold licences at auction for 3G mobile phone services on the 2.1 gigahertz spectrum. Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (Dtac) and True Move were the successful bidders. They were also the only bidders.
The telecom regulator auctioned off nine, 15-year licences for 41.6 billion baht, 1.125 billion baht or 2.78% above the floor price.
With such a low auction price, there were questions and allegations of bidding collusion among the three giant mobile operators.
The three companies earlier announced plans to spend a combined 130 billion baht on network construction over the next three years to serve the expected extraordinary growth in mobile data consumption.
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