ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai telecom DTAC gets approval for 3G
CAT Telecom has given approval to DTAC to start providing commercial third-generation (3G) wireless broadband services, something the second-ranked mobile operator has been seeking for almost three years.
The management of the state telecom enterprise would submit the proposal to the board for approval in mid-March, said president Jirayuth Roongsrithong.
The decision is seen as an attempt to defuse criticism of CAT for a hastily arranged 14-year agreement with third-ranked True Move to market 3G services after it acquired the small Hutch mobile business.
Rival operators claimed True Move had gained an unfair advantage in 3G development and was essentially getting an extension of its concession, which is due to expire in 2013.
Mr. Jirayuth said CAT had full authority to allow DTAC to provide 3G commercial services on a high-speed packet access (HSPA) network. The approval did not require screening under the 1992 Public-Private Joint Venture Act, he said..
The CAT board in December said DTAC could upgrade its 850 MHz spectrum to HSPA for 1,220 base stations to provide non-commercial 3G trials.
The company had been seeking approval for almost three years but had received approval for only 36 sites so far. True Move won approval two years ago to upgrade 656 cell sites.
Mr. Jirayuth also said CAT was ready to provide 3G service in Bangkok and surrounding areas in April. It plans to upgrade its CDMA network to HSPA with another 600 base stations over the next six months.
He also reiterated that the True-CAT agreement for the Hutch business provided major benefits to CAT in areas of service quality and network expansion
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