Thailand’s newest cellco Jas4G has launched a crowdsourcing initiative asking its 3BB broadband customers if they can host cellsites. CEO Pete Bodharamik said he was in talks with CAT Telecom on tower sharing, but complained that CAT was charging five times the actual cost of a new site in rental fees.
Jas has also opened reservations for its SIM cards and aims to launch within two weeks, though whether it is a skeleton network or using one of its two MVNO licenses remains a mystery.
TrueMove has said it would consider allocating Jas4G bandwidth on “its” 850 network for roaming, although True is an MVNO on CAT and 850 is supposed to be run by CAT (which has in turn outsourced it back to True).
Immediately after the 900-MHz auction results were ratified, Thai ICT Minister Dr Uttama Savanayana poured cold water on hopes of an early auction for unused 1800 spectrum ruling out its early reallocation. He then okayed a plan to let state-owned CAT Telecom upgrade that spectrum – which it had recalled from Dtac in 2006 for 4G. That spectrum expires in under three years on September 15, 2018 and, under the current law, must be returned to the NBTC for auction.
Uttama Savanayana later announced the reallocation of $102 million (3.7 billion baht) to a series of digital economy programs to enhance Thailand’s digital economy and make it a digital hub in the region. The money came from the cancelled free tablet program under the last government.
On the same day, the Supreme Court upheld a suspended eight-month jail term for Chiranuch Premchaiporn – the webmaster of the Prachathai.com site – for not removing offending content quickly enough, and Technology Crime Suppression Division commander Police Colonel Olarn Sukkasem has declared that liking something defamatory on Facebook itself a crime.
“Clicking the 'like' tab on a message that is in contravention of Article 14 of the Act on Computer Crime 2007 is the same as importing or sharing false information that threatens national security and stability,” he said.
Elsewhere, Police Major General Pisit Pao-in, the former commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division (who made headlines thanking LINE for secretly helping them to crack down on dissidents) who now oversees the government's reform of online media said that he would ask to use the power of Article 44 (the absolute power clause in the interim constitution) to crack down on online media, including content deemed to be affecting national security and/or defaming the monarchy.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s largest telco AIS received an MVNO license that will allow it to roam on Thailand’s smallest network – that of state telco TOT – in a deal that will effectively see AIS take control of 80% of TOT’s 15-MHz slice of 2100-MHz spectrum.