Thailand’s ICT Minister has urged the government to work out a strategic master plan for spectrum to ensure the efficient use of the resource by the telecoms and broadcast industries.
ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa said the idea will be raised at a meeting of the national broadband committee next week, the Bangkok Post reported.
If the committee, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula, approves the proposal, it can then be sent to the Prime Minister for endorsement, the Post said.
Thailand has allocated limited spectrum in recent years to telecoms operators, which are hungry for more bandwidth as mobile broadband usage soars. The country’s 4G auctions have been delayed a number of times since a year ago and now are scheduled at the end of the year. But calls by Pornchai to develop a more efficient auction plan and pressure from government officials and operators to include additional spectrum, particularly in the 1.8GHz band where just two lots of 12.5MHz will be auctioned off, threaten to delay the sale.
Pornchai has said previously that the ICT Ministry will negotiate with state-owned TOT and CAT Telecom for the return of their unused frequencies after the expiry of concessions. Both TOT and CAT have claimed that they have the right to hold the frequencies after the concessions expire, but those claims are contested.
TOT holds 64MHz of unused spectrum in the 2.3GHz band. It is pushing to hold onto 17.5MHz in the 900MHz band after its concession with AIS ends in September. But that spectrum is scheduled to be auctioned off in December.