Thailand to recall 850-MHz spectrum for GSM-R

Don Sambandaraksa
telecomasia.net
Dtac has rung the alarm bells on the Thai government’s ambitious $64 billion (2 trillion baht) high-speed rail project. The operator slammed the plan for recalling valuable 850-MHz spectrum for use in GSM-R rail communications that would starve the country of valuable sub-GHz spectrum for rural mobile broadband coverage.
 
Speaking at Telecom Journal’s spectrum seminar, Atip Keeratipish, Dtac’s assistant VP for regulatory affairs, made the revelation that all the low-band holders - Dtac and TrueMove for 850-MHz and AIS for 900-MHz -- had been summoned for talks with the government to recall 850-MHz for GSM-R.
 
Only two scenarios were on table in the talks. In one scenario, all Dtac spectrum would be recalled for GSM-R, TrueMove H would still have its 15 MHz while AIS’ 900-MHz would be expanded from its current 17.5 MHz (x2 paired) to 20 MHz. In the other scenario, both TrueMove and Dtac 850-MHz spectrum would be revoked and the 900-MHz band expanded to 31 MHz.
 
Atip said that while the rail project was still many years away, clarity was needed much sooner, preferably by the end of the year as the regulator has mooted auctioning off 900-MHz by September 2014 and thus it would need to be known before the studies commence if it was 17.5, 20 or 31 MHz that was going to be available.
 
The plans are for the spectrum to be withdrawn from telecom use when Dtac’s concession ends in 2018 and TrueMove’s arrangement with state-owned CAT Telecom ends in 2025. The AIS concession ends in 2015.
 

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