By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
THE NATIONAL Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has drafted a new five-year telecom master plan which focuses on promoting the use of new technologies and promoting infrastructure-sharing among telecom operators to ensure equal access t
The current master plan expires on April 3, 2017.
Last week the NBTC held a focus-group discussion with telecom licence-holders and consumer groups on the new draft, which is expected to be presented at public hearings this November.
Sutisak Tantiyothin, NBTC executive director of telecommunication policy and the resource management bureau, said that the new master plan would contain regulations to accommodate new technologies and measures to promote competition among a variety of services.
During the focus group, a representative from Total Access Communication (DTAC) urged the regulator to set a timeframe for the new spectrum auction, which would make it easier for telecom operators to draw up future investment plans and make Thailand’s mobile-phone market look more attractive to foreign investors.
DTAC’s concession licence for 1800 megahertz and 800MHz under CAT Telecom will expire in 2018.
The draft of the new master plan has only the timeframe for when existing spectra will be released from their current holders but no specific auction date. By 2025, there will be 865MHz bandwidth of spectra available for mobile-phone services, versus 420MHz bandwidth available this year.
In 2018, three spectrum bands will be available for auction, which will be a pair of 10MHz bands of 800MHz, a pair of 45MHz bands of 1800MHz, and one 15MHz band of 2.1 gigahertz. In 2022, a pair of 70MHz bands and one 40MHz band of 2.6GHz will be available.
In 2023, a pair of 45MHz bands of 700MHz will be |available.
In 2025, a pair of 10MHz bands of 450MHz, a pair of 15MHz bands of 850 MHz, one 90MHz band of 1.5GHz, one 40MHz band of 1.8 GHz, and one 70MHz band of 2.3GHz will be available.
A representative from Advanced Info Service said the NBTC should make it clear now if it would allocate the 800MHz band for railway communications or a wireless broadband service.
Sutisak said that the new master plan was designed to support the government’s digital economy policy.
It will also provide incentives to telecom licence-holders to place hanging cable networks underground. They can use the cost of placing lines underground to reduce the amount they have to pay as the annual universal-service obligation fee to the NBTC.