Thai minister rejects return of 4G spectrum
Thailand’s ICT minister has ordered state-owned CAT Telecom to drop its proposed agreement with dtac to return 5MHz of unused 1.8GHz spectrum, as it wants to avoid a delay in the 4G auctions later in the year.

CAT reportedly wants compensation for the return, which ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa is concerned would push the auctions back to next year since the process would take at least eight months, the Bangkok Post said.

The telecoms regulator said three weeks ago it would reconsider the offer, but only if it came without condition and compensation.

Foreign climbers get free WiFi on Mount Fuji
NTT Docomo and two prefectures around Japan’s Mount Fuji, the country’s highest mountain, will offer overseas climbers free WiFi service on the slopes of the iconic mountain.

The joint initiative, which starts on 10 July, is aimed at attracting more overseas visitors to Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, one of Japan’s most popular destinations during the summer climbing season.

The free WiFi service will be available at eight hotspots, including several trail heads that can be reached by vehicles, as well as on the 3,776-meter summit.

Chunghwa expands 4G contract with Ericsson
Taiwan’s leading mobile operator Chunghwa Telecom has expanded its service and supply contract with Ericsson to cover its core network and RAN in key cities, including the capital Taipei.

Chunghwa said the agreement, which includes a small-cell build-out, will enable it to expand its 4G coverage and capacity nationwide.

The operator, with a 34 per cent market share, said the Swedish vendor will continue to be its sole supplier for its entire core network, including a multi-access evolved packet core, and a major supplier for its RAN.

Two million of Chunghwa’s almost 11 million connections were 4G at the end of March, according to GSMA Intelligence.

SKT, Nokia open 5G lab
South Korea’s largest mobile operator SK Telecom has teamed up with Nokia Networks to open a 5G research lab at Nokia’s headquarters in Seoul.

The companies said in January they would conduct joint research to develop supposed core 5G network technologies such as gigabit-level data communications and cloud-based virtualised base station technology.

They also announced they have verified the performance of a “user plane and control plane separation technique”. Nokia said that the physical separation of control plane and user plane of the LTE core network architecture is an essential technique for building a hybrid core network architecture that offers benefits of both centralised and distributed network models.