TrueMove may just have won Thailand’s next 4G battle early due to MCOT’s decision to relinquish part of its 2,600-MHz holdings for 4G, spectrum which happens to favour Chinese-style band 41 TDD 2.6 LTE rather than rest-of-world type band 7 FDD 2.6 LTE.
The past couple of weeks have been an exercise trying to figure what is real and what is not in one of those vivid waking dreams. Who is in charge of the 4G auction? Three factions of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission seem to be vying for the limelight alongside the ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa and Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathron Devakul who was the first to throw 2600 into the arena.
On the NBTC side we have NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit (the most senior executive who has regular job until he retires or is impeached), NBTC telecoms chair Setthapong Malisuwan (who would be the one in charge if it were not for the tiny detail that a new NBTC act is in the pipeline which will soon leave him in the queue at the job centre) and the new NBTC board headed by a general whose name I cannot recall who wants a three month delay to sort out more spectrum and 1800-MHz defragmentation.
Oh, and there’s also the Digital Economy Commission which will soon (once the new laws are passed) be in charge of the NBTC though right now they are leading anyway by virtue of being chaired by the Dear Leader.
The Thai junta’s controversial article 44 that gives it absolute power has already been invoked in the telecoms sector, ordering the legislature not to select a new NBTC commissioner to replace Suthipol Thaweechaikarn who resigned and went over to the Office of the Auditor General. Yes, the Suthipol who overruled a NBTC sub-committee report that True had accidentally rolled out its 850-MHz network without a licence saying that the sub-com never explained why True needed a licence to begin on that CAT spectrum and told them to rewrite the report. That was the end of the story and nothing was heard since. But I digress.
So the five-member NBTC telecoms board is down to four without a legal expert (Suthipol) and, any day now will be just an acting NBTC when the new NBTC with a unified 7-member telecoms and broadcasting board is enacted.