Thai 1800-MHz to be refarmed in 2-3 years

Don Sambandaraksa
telecomasia.net
Thailand’s telecom regulator now says that 1800-MHz should be re-farmed in the next 2-3 years, possibly giving TrueMove breathing space as its spectrum’s concession comes to an end in September 2013.
 
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has identified priority bands to be re-farmed. This includes 64 MHz of 2.3-GHz currently used by state telco TOT, the entire 900-MHz band used by AIS that expires in 2015 and 25 MHz of 1800-MHz that expires in September 2012, 12.5 MHz of which is used for TrueMove 2G.
 
The telecoms board said that a timeframe of 2-3 years would be needed for re-farming for LTE.
 
Previously, telecoms chair Setthapong Malisuwan had hinted at a March 2013 auction while commissioner Pravit Leesathapornwongsa argued for an extension to the concession to give True time to orderly move its users to a new 3G network.
 
True Corp CEO Supachai Chearavanont said that his company would definitely be bidding for 1800-MHz spectrum to provide continued service.
 
Apart from the 25 MHz expiring spectrum, there is also an unused 25 MHz, which has been allocated to Dtac but which concession holder CAT Telecom has not released. Dtac CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah has said that the NBTC can and should take back this unused spectrum for re-auctioning alongside the expiring 25 MHz and that it is in clearly in their power to do so.
 
Meanwhile, TrueMove has announced its partnership with the ICT Ministry for an extra 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots under the ICT free Wi-Fi project. Along with the 50,000 access points by AIS and 20,000 from TOT, this means the project now has 120,000 access points nationwide.
 
True offers users 15 hours a month free, five more than AIS’s contribution.

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