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TOT asked to revise business plan for fourth-generation 2.3GHz service


THE TELECOM committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has threatened to order TOT to relinquish much of its bandwidth on the 2.3-gigahertz spectrum for auction if it is found that TOT’s plans for the band would fail to use i

TOT won approval from the telecom committee in July last year to use the 60 megahertz of a 64MHz band of the spectrum for fourth-generation wireless service.
However, telecom committee member Pravit Leestapornvongsa said the panel yesterday resolved to ask TOT to submit a better business plan after finding that the bandwidth the agency plans to hold might be excessive for actual operational requirements.
The committee has given TOT the opportunity to defend its right to use the spectrum by asking it to submit the new plan within three months.
Under the existing proposal, TOT planned to set up a 4G fixed wireless broadband network to serve at least 100,000 users within the first year of operation and to expand it to at least 900,000 users by the fifth year. It would operate the 4G network under a wholesale and resale basis.
Pravit said that if TOT sticks to this plan with only a few customers being targeted, the committee believes the agency should return part of the spectrum for reallocation, which could result in higher revenue for the state.
Moreover, the committee decided that it would also take back 4.5MHz of the 470MHz spectrum from TOT as part of the NBTC plan to reallocate the spectrum. Previously TOT operated first-generation mobile phones service on the 470MHz band, which has since shut down.
TOT is conducting technical tests for the proposed 4G-2.3GHz service along certain Skytrain routes and in Ratchaburi.
Recently the TOT board approved a plan to seek a partner for new investment on 60MHz of the 2.3GHz spectrum by sending invitations to international telecom-equipment suppliers and local telecom operators to propose business plans.
There are two parts to this plan. The first is to invite  Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia to submit investment plans and financial terms.
The second part is to survey potential demand for 2.3GHz network capacity by the three Thai telecom-service providers, Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Group.
TOT is expected to decide on a strategic partner for its 4G-2.3GHz plan by the end of the year. It is in the process of selecting an adviser to seek the strategic partner for the project.
The revenue from the 2.3GHz spectrum would be part of TOT’s survival plan to gain new revenue sources.
TOT forecasts a profit margin from the project of around Bt3 billion a year, starting from 2017.

Published : August 23, 2016

By : USANEE MONGKOLPORN<br /> THE