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Pattaya Daily News

18 September 2010 :: 16:09:51 pm 39300

Dispute Between NTC and CAT See Drop in Shares

The National Telecommunication has filed an appeal after an injunction is issued by the Central Administration Court after allegations from state owned CAT.
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BANGKOK, 18th September 2010 The National Telecommunication (NTC), Thailand’s telecoms regulator, filed an appeal on Friday to the Supreme Administrative Court to overturn an injunction issued by the Central Administrative Court against its planned auction of 3G mobile licenses.

The auction was scheduled for Monday, after the state owned CAT Telecom alleged that the NTC had no authority to grant the 2.1 gigahertz frequency spectrum to which the purpose was to facilitate the launch of 3G technology in the country, to successful bidders.

The legitimacy of the NTC to oversee industry issues related to the technology pending the commissioning of a new regulator has been challenged by state owned operators.

Natee Sukonrat, chief of NTC said; “If the court doesn’t order otherwise before Monday morning, we will have to suspend all the planned auction process.”

Investor confidence will be adversely affected if the 3G licensing is delayed, as well as disrupting investment plans by mobile phone operators in facilitating new networks and lending activities to finance such investments.

Over 15 years which is also the validation period of licenses, the NTC stated that the introduction of 3G would boost the country’s gross domestic product by 240 billion baht ($10.4 billion) to 480 billion baht.

Telecom stocks were hit hard on Friday by the injunction as market participants did not expect the auction to be cancelled at the very last minute.

In recent months, due to strong investor optimism over their long term prospects arising from 3G products and services, shares of participating firms in the auction had surged.

Starting prices of 12.8 billion baht for the 3G wireless spectrum bas bid for by Units of Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Comunication (TAC) and True Corp

Thailand’s biggest mobile Telco, AIS which include major shareholders Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Sing Tel, dropped by 8.7 per cent to 89.5 baht while Total Access Communication, the second biggest fell by 14.3 per cent to 39 baht, while True Corp fell 25 per cent to 5.1 baht.

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BANGKOK, Sept 19 – As Thailand lags behind a number of Asian countries in implementing third generation (3G) wireless service, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday his government would push related telecoms laws through the current parliamentary session.

Speaking during his weekly TV and radio address, Mr Abhisit said he hoped that a clearer picture on the status of the planned 3G auction, first scheduled for Monday but now postponed indefinitely, would become clear this week.

If the auction cannot be held due to the delay, a coordinating committee of the House of Representatives has been urged to draft the law establishing the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to be responsible to conduct the auction.

“If the law passes the current parliamentary session, the process of appointing NBTC board members could start either late this year or early next year. The board will have authority to hold the auction,” Mr Abhisit said.

Reiterating that every government policy must be carried out under legal and constitutional frameworks, Mr Abhisit said a committee on information and communication technology had met Friday and agreed that accessing innovative technology for people throughout the country is an important objective and urgent for boosting the national economy and also upgrading the Thai society.

The 3G auction is now postponed indefinitely as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) awaits the ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court on Monday as to whether it would uphold a lower court injunction against the auction.

The three bidders–Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC and True Move–have been informed of the court decision to rule on the case.

The controversy erupted following a Central Administrative Court injunction to halt the upcoming 3G licence bidding process until the NBTC is established as prescribed under the 2007 Constitution, saying the NTC has no authority to allocate the frequencies. (MCOT online news)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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