Thailand to hold long-awaited 3G auction next week
BANGKOK—After years of delays, Thailand’s top three mobile telephone operators will bid next week for licenses to provide third-generation (3G) services in the kingdom, regulators said Tuesday.
A business dispute meant that as other nations move to introduce faster 4G technology, Thailand has yet to roll out a proper 3G service, more than a decade after it was first launched in Japan.
Leading telecom firms Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (Dtac) and True Move have qualified to bid at a 3G license auction on October 16, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission announced.
A total of 45 megahertz of bandwidth will be on offer, with a minimum price of 4.5 billion baht ($147 million) for each five megahertz block.
In 2010 a Thai court halted a 3G license auction at the last minute after state-owned telecoms giant CAT argued that the then-regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission, had no authority to conduct the bidding.
The slow pace of progress has frustrated smartphone users.
“I bought my iPhone partly because I wanted to have 3G as I like checking e-mails and surfing the Internet,” said 37-year-old assistant manager Siwaporn Bunthuwanich.
“Other countries are more advanced but we’re still left behind. The signal is not even stable yet. It makes me wonder whether we’re a developing or undeveloped country,” she said.
One mobile operator, Dtac, is already looking further ahead by starting a technical trial of 4G in parts of Bangkok. It expects to complete a nationwide network update by the end of 2012 to prepare for an eventual official launch.
Recent Stories:10 dead as military, Abu Sayyaf clash in Sulu 11 mins elapsed Monty says Garcia controversy has gone too far 17 mins elapsed Arellano Felix drug cartel leader pleads guilty 21 mins elapsed Biographer regrets affair with former CIA director 45 mins elapsed Stone Temple Pilots sue ex-frontman Scott Weiland 1 hour elapsed Ex-Guatemala president extradited to US 2 hours elapsed Toronto mayor denies he smokes crack cocaine 2 hours elapsed Cannes: Dern a leading man again in ‘Nebraska’ 4 hours elapsed