Thursday, November 14, 2019

NBTC offers assurances on 5G progress

Aug 05. 2019
Takorn Tantasith/Photo by The Nation
Takorn Tantasith/Photo by The Nation
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By The Nation

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The Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is aiming to boost private-sector confidence by accelerating 5G development and setting fees that are fair for consumers while guaranteeing operators enough profit to attract further investment.

Secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said he and private licensees and operators are agreed that 5G should be in place as scheduled by the previous government – by late this year or early next. 

He said the private sector wants the government to provide full support and ensure that profits cover investments. 

The shift from 4G to 5G is vastly more complicated than the move from 3G to 4G and requires different network equipment, so private investment could be in the range of Bt200 billion-Bt300 billion, not including charges to buy into the spectrum at auction.

“The NBTC understands the private sector’s concerns and takes this matter seriously,” Takorn said. “We are working hard to ensure that there are enough spectrum channels available for 5G operations countrywide. And when 5G is finally ready, we will set usage fees that are fair for consumers and still guarantee enough profits for private operators.

“The NBTC’s top-priority mission right now is to make sure that 5G is really happening, and to achieve that, we will work with each operator to troubleshoot any obstacles one by one,” he said. “Next month, on the 4th, the NBTC will host a seminar where private operators are welcome to report problems related to 5G technology implementation and make suggestions. The NBTC will pass the results on to the government.”

The NBTC has assigned three educational institutions to research and recommend suitable prices for channels and usage fees by early October, after which the multi-band spectrum auction will start.

In the early stage, 5G will benefit industrial entrepreneurs, who can use it to restructure their production process and increase efficiency. 

Citizens can start utilising technology only when the equipment becomes available, around mid-2020 at the soonest.

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