ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai cabinet approves 3G for state firm
The long-delayed plan was the Information and Communications Technology Ministry (ICT) after a court decision last week to stop the auctioning of three private sector 3G licences.
TOT gains an advantage over the private mobile companies if there ever is an auction of 3G licences to the private sector,if it completes and markets its own 19billion baht network on the 2100-megahertz spectrum.
ICT Minister Juti Krairiksh from the ruling Democrat Party said TOT needed to establish oa subsidiary to manage the 3G network and the telecom pool that would use the networks to prevent duplication of investments.
Mr Juti said TOT would improve and increase the present 4,700 3G nodes, or base stations, to 5,400 to cover all areas of Bangkok and 12 to 15 key provinces.
TOT board director Djitt Laowattana backed the cabinet's decision saying it was a signal for TOT's investment project to move forward after being stalled since December.
He said the delay in TOT's nationwide 3G network project had dealt a blow to the marketing plans of the organisation's five mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) which provide mobile phone services under its licensed radio spectrum frequencies.
Mr. Djitt said TOT would detail its 3G auction rules and conditions and display them on its website, inviting interested bidders for the service.
Winners of the bid could deploy the network and start providing part of the second-phase service within eight months.
An unnamed industry source said the approval came as no surprise as the government should still be in office at the end of the year.
Cabinet's approval of TOT's 3G investment would immediately create benefits for equipment suppliers and TOT board members or political representatives. ZTE and Huawei Technology are tipped as potential suppliers for the TOT 3G equipment auction.
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