NBTC asks PM for 5G panel

NBTC asks PM for 5G panel

Collaboration sought on adoption by 2020

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has written to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, asking him to establish a national 5G strategy committee to ensure adoption nationwide by next year as planned.

The letter was sent by NBTC board chairman Sukit Khamasundara last Friday, said a source at the NBTC who requested anonymity.

The committee would be chaired by the prime minister, who is expected to help streamline collaboration among various parties to get 5G development off the ground.

These parties include the Industry and Commerce ministries, as well as companies that will be key drivers of 5G technology in the future, the source said.

The move is in line with several neighbouring countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, that have established similar committees to mobilise 5G adoption.

The letter also reiterated the NBTC's proposal to the 25th Asean Telecommunication Regulators' Council in Bangkok last month to establish a centre in each country to help screen fake, fraud and illicit content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

The proposal was agreed by most of the 10 regulators at the meeting.

OTT operators may jointly form what is called a coordination and verification centre in each country to help verify information brought onto their platforms.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said 5G adoption is a key agenda item for the country.

The NBTC cannot accelerate 5G adoption independently -- the regulator needs cooperation from other related parties and the prime minister, particularly since using Section 44 is no longer an option, Mr Takorn said.

He said the success of 5G adoption rests with the enthusiasm of the private sector.

5G infrastructure development requires investment by telecom operators in terms of spectrum licences and network roll-outs.

"They expect licence costs not to be exorbitant and want to see a clear picture of the investment return for 5G networks," Mr Takorn said.

The NBTC also plans to offer a three-year grace period for 5G licence payments to ease the financial burden shouldered by major telecom operators, he said.

As for the coordination and verification centre, Mr Takorn said the plan is to allow OTT operators to authorise a third party in Thailand to check information brought onto their platforms.

The same practice needs to be applied in every Asean country, he said.

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