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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           16   August  2011

Thai mobile firm ignores government agency

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CAT Telecom has threatened to immediately file a complaint against DTAC with the arbitrator if the second-ranked mobile operator begins its 3G commercial service today as planned.

The state telecom enterprise says it will also submit a letter to the acting National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) against DTAC for breaching its concession agreement by misusing the analogue 850-megahertz frequency without the state's approval.

Jon Eddy Abdullah, the chief executive of DTAC, insisted Monday that the company will start providing its planned commercial 3G wireless broadband service Tuesday, saying it has the right to provide commercial 3G service now that it has a usage licence — basically formal permission to begin operating on a frequency — from the NBTC, clearing the way for commercial 3G service.

But CAT president Jirayuth Roongsrithong reiterated that a legal battle with DTAC will inevitably persist if the company determines to move ahead with its planned 3G.

"It's the problem of NBTC to solve this issue," he said.

CAT asked DTAC to wait until the Office of the Attorney General approves the plan, which is subject to review under the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.

DTAC Tuesday will kick off 3G commercial service in Bangkok through the first phase of 400 base stations under the Life network campaign, serving its existing 400,000 data users primarily.

Pakorn Pannachet, the senior vice-president for the product division of DTAC, said existing DTAC customers with 3G 850 MHz-enabled handsets may sign up for 3G service with no additional service charges.

Network speeds for DTAC's 3G service will vary depending on where customers are located. With the 3G HSPA network, download speeds could reach 42 Mbps.

Mr Pakorn said DTAC's 3G service charge would be at the same rate as existing 2G data plans. Approximately 800 base stations will be available in Bangkok by the end of this year, increasing to 2,000 bases covering 20 provinces in 2012.

In fact, Mr Pakorn said the launch of 3G commercial service was simply an upgrade of network data-transmission speeds for its customers under the existing 2G concession agreement.

DTAC currently has 6 million data users and expects an increase to 7.5 million users by year-end. The figure is seen reaching 10 million users next year.

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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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