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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           5   August  2011

DTAC moves on 3G

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CAT Telecom has warned its concessionaire DTAC to delay the start of its planned commercial 3G service this month, or it may face charges of breaching its concession agreement but DTAC does not want to fall behind its competitors.

The state telecom enterprise said the second-ranked mobile operator should wait until the Office of the Attorney General has approved the plan, which is subject to review under the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

But DTAC chief executive Jon Eddy Abdullah insisted the company could not wait any longer and would start commercial 3G service in Bangkok by mid-August as planned.

Despite lacking approval from CAT, DTAC said it had received a usage licence _ basically formal permission to start operating on a frequency _ from the acting National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, clearing the way for commercial 3G service.

CAT president Jirayuth Rungsrithong said DTAC would be breaching its concession agreement if 3G went ahead, and the dispute would need to go to arbitration.

''DTAC should not be in a rush to market 3G service as it is not an equation for success,'' he said.
''We don't want to create a new legal dispute as all [conditions for the 3G approval process for DTAC] are now positive.''

Mr. Jirayuth said he would discuss his suggestions soon with Mr. Abdullah.

DTAC feels it has no choice but to start 3G now that its rivals True Move and Advanced Info Service have begun their own commercial services.

Competition to offer 3G on existing frequencies of the three major mobile operators will likely intensify this month.

DTAC said it would have 400 base stations in Bangkok ready by mid-August, increasing to 2,000 bases covering 20 provinces by year-end.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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