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Telecom committee turns down TOT’s plan for 4G partnership 

Feb 21. 2017
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TOT’S search for a strategic partner to launch fourth-generation cellular services on its 2.3-gigahertz band hit a snag yesterday when the telecom committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission rejected its revised business plan.

Pravit Leesatapornwongsa, a member of the NBTC, said the telecom panel was concerned that the state enterprise’s plan might violate Article 46 of the Frequency Allocation Law that requires licence holders to operate their frequencies completely on their own, instead of having other parties do it on their behalf.

So far 13 companies have picked up the terms of reference to bid to become TOT’s partner. 

Among them are Advanced Wireless Network, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS); DTAC TriNet, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication; and TrueMove H Universal Communication and Real Move, both part of the True Corp group.

DTAC seems to be the most eager to clinch the TOT deal as it failed to win a licence in the recent auctions of bandwidth on the 1,800- and 900-megahertz spectra. 

DTAC’s concession with CAT Telecom to operate a mobile service on the 850MHz and 1,800MHz bands expires late next year.

The telecom committee asked NBTC staff to examine in greater detail the legal aspects of TOT’s 4G business plan and whether TOT has to hand over a part of its 60MHz bandwidth to the commission if it has to abandon a 4G partnership.

Rungsun Channarukul, senior executive vice president of TOT, said the agency’s 4G business model was similar to that of the True-CAT Telecom partnership in offering an 850MHz wireless broadband service.

True’s wholly owned subsidiary BFKT (Thailand) has installed the 850MHz network for CAT to wholesale mainly to True for the provision of the wireless broadband service.

“We can confirm that our |spectrum will be operated by TOT, not by the private partner,” Rungsun said. 

Ready to clarify

TOT is ready to clarify the case to the NBTC, he added.

According to the selection criteria, potential partners have to propose investments to cover 80 per cent of the population within five years and a plan to commit to leasing 60 per cent of the network’s capacity. 

TOT would use the remaining capacity to provide its own cellular service and allocate spare capacity to potential mobile virtual network operators.

TOT had expected to take 60 days to select a 4G partner by a “beauty contest” method, with the firm or consortium with the best overall technical and commercial proposal winning. 

TOT had expected to sign a deal with its selected partner in the third quarter, with the partner starting installation of the network in the final quarter of the year.


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