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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        4  March 2011

Thailand 3G auction planned

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Thailand's new telecommunications regulator officially has no members yet but it has begun work on two master plans for the industry and national frequency management.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) believes it might be ready to auction licences for 3G wireless broadband services by the end of this year - about five years behind schedule.

Drafts of the five-year master plans are expected to be finished in May and implementation could start within three months of the 11-member NBTC board taking office, said Col. Natee Sukolrat, a deputy head of the acting NBTC.

"The NBTC could start an auction for 3G licences on the 2.1 GHz spectrum by the end of this year if the publication of the master plans has been announced," he said.

Col. Natee said the master plans would provide guidance for developing the country's telecommunications industry.

The ultimate goal is to provide broadband internet service of at least 100 Mbps for people living in big cities, representing 15 percent of the total population, and 10 Mbps for people in rural areas covering at least 50 percent of the population.

Nationwide, everyone should have access to speeds of at least 2 Mbps over the next five years. Basic telecom voice services should cover 99 percent of the population and data service 90 percent under the plans.

Telecom service fees should be lowered by at least 28 percent from the current rates while data service charges should fall by 65 percent from now, said Col. Natee.

Two members of the acting NBTC tendered their resignations yesterday as part of the normal selection process for the new 11 members. They are Buntoon Suphakvanich and Suchart Suchartvejjapoom.

The NBTC on Wednesday opened applications for candidates to apply for the 11 positions on its board.

The selection process involves two lists of 22 names each. The first will be proposed by qualified organisations and the second by a panel of 15 representatives of state agencies and ministries

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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