NBTC lifeline hope for struggling TOT
Help with frequencies for public services
The National and Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) may grant TOT Plc frequencies in the range of 900- and 2300 megahertz for public benefit, said Information and Communication Technology Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa.
This follows the minister's suggestion that the national telecom regulator allocate some frequency bands to TOT for public service uses, as part of the government's policy to groom a digital economy.
Pornchai: TOT needs to keep spectrum
TOT needs to have some frequency range to provide services such as public WiFi in order to promote broadband access and service in the country, Mr Pornchai said yesterday after meeting with TOT board's directors and executives.
TOT holds 64 MHz of bandwidth on the 2300-MHz spectrum but most of the range is unused. TOT earlier proposed to the NBTC it wanted to keep half of the bandwidth to provide a 4G wireless broadband service.
The state enterprise also holds an additional 17.5 MHz of bandwidth on the 900-MHz spectrum, now operated by Advanced Info Service under a concession with
TOT to provide 2G service. This is due to expire next September.
Although Section 45 of the Frequency Allocation Act stipulates spectra must be allocated only through auctions and that after expiry of concessions spectra must be returned to the NBTC for reallocation, the NBTC has to discuss a resolution with state enterprises, as ordered by the junta.
The NBTC initially planned to auction two licences for the 1800-MHz spectrum in August and another two for the 900-MHz spectrum in November this year. These were halted by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) pending an examination of information and clearer transparency. The NCPO said it wanted to see TOT and CAT be self-sufficient and free from heavy losses.
Mr Pornchai said TOT needed to keep the 900-MHz spectrum to continue operating further after its concession ends, but must discuss the issue directly with the NBTC as the ICT Ministry has no authority to deal with the matter.