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Thai 3G licence auction faces further delay

30 июня 2009

Thailand's long-awaited launch of 3G mobile services has been delayed again, with the auction of licenses likely to kick off around January next year, the National Telecommunications Commission. The NTC had previously targeted granting licenses this year.

However, NTC Secretary General Suranan Wongvithayakamjorn said it is still finalizing details of new regulations related to 3G services, which are expected to be completed and released by mid-September.

The sale of 3G licenses has been postponed several times due to the absence of another independent body to regulate broadcasting frequencies and changes in state administrations.

Major mobile phone operators in Thailand, including Advanced Info Service PCL, Total Access Communication PCL and True Move PCL are all making preparations to switch to 3G.

Private operators said they aren't surprised with the delays, while some doubt if the auction will actually take place in January as planned.

"If it happens in January, it'd mean a delay of just a couple of months and I think that it is acceptable," said DTAC Chief Executive Tore Johnsen.

However, he said DTAC will likely lower its investment budget previously planned for this year because of the potential delay.

He declined to provide a specific capex target for this year but indicated that it would be less than the THB11 billion spent last year.

AIS Vice Chairman of the Board Somprasong Boonyachai said the delay "will lessen the need for investment this year. We adjust our capex regularly to match our investment necessity."

In addition, he said the company has already trimmed some capex this year due to slowing economic conditions. He didn't provide figures.

Key operators said they have been fully prepared for the 3G services and are ready to participate in the auction.

"We are ready in terms of knowledge, human resources and finance. All that we are lacking is the definite timeline (from the regulator)," AIS' Somprasong said.

"We have been ready years ago," said True Corp. Vice Chairman Athueck Asvanund.

3G services allow users to transfer data and download content at substantially faster speeds than second-generation technology, while enabling more sophisticated applications such as video telephony, television on mobile phones and e-commerce transactions.


Источник: Total Telecom

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