The court order that derailed Thailand's 3G auction last month has left the entire industry in “a big vacuum” and private operators at a disadvantage, according to DTAC CEO Tore Johnson.
The National Telecom Commission (NTC) called off the auction last month after the supreme administrative court upheld an order that the body had no authority to conduct it.
The verdict has left Thailand's regulatory system “in a mess,” Johnson told telecomasia.net.
The three private operators which applied to take part in the 3G auction will now have to wait until the formation of the NBTC – a broadcasting and telecom super-regulator set to take over from the NTC – to acquire 3G licenses, he said.
In the meantime, the three private operators cleared to take part in the auction – DTAC, AIS and True – are at a major disadvantage to state-owned operator and former regulator TOT, the only company with a 3G license.
“There is no competition, no rollout over the whole country, and a non-level playing field among the telecom operators in Thailand,” Johnson said.
Even in the best-case scenario, the NBTC won't be ready to issue 3G licenses until the middle of next year, “but there is a fear that it may be even later,” he said.