Thai telecom chiefs call for early 4G spectrum auctions

Thai telecom chiefs call for early 4G spectrum auctions
The CEOs of Thailand's three largest mobile operators -- from left, Dtac's Sigve Brekke, AISs' Somchai Lertsuttiwong and True's Supachai Chearavanont -- called for a 4G spectrum auction at a joint conference in Bangkok on Tuesday.

BANGKOK - The heads of Thailand's three largest mobile telecommunications operators on Tuesday urged the military government and regulators to hold an auction for fourth-generation (4G) spectrum next year, calling it essential to the country's digitization.

"Having 4G means building new telecom infrastructure in Thailand, and that will move our economy," Somchai Lertsuttiwong, CEO of Advanced Info Service, told reporters at the joint news conference in Bangkok. "Authorities should understand, dare to make the decision and hurry. We must compete with other countries."

AIS is the country's largest mobile carrier, but it is the only company in the top three that does not yet have 4G services, due to a lack of bandwidth. Total Access Communication, the No. 2 player and operating under the Dtac brand, and True Corp. offer 4G service in selected areas.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission had planned to hold 4G auctions in August and November this year, but the junta that took power in the May coup postponed them by one year to ensure "transparency."

The three chiefs are in talks with NBTC officials about spectrum allocation methods, but they said an official proposal has not been made yet.

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