webfact 161237 Posted September 19, 2010 Share Posted September 19, 2010 Korn warns of danger if 3G auction goes ahead The Nation on Sunday Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij yesterday expressed concern that there could be significant damage if the controversial auction of 3G (third generation) mobile telecom licences goes ahead as earlier planned. His comment followed the Central Administrative Court's injunction to delay the auction, due to be held by the National Telecom Commission (NTC), over the coming week. The NTC, on Friday, lodged an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court in the hope of overturning the injunction so it can go ahead with the auction of two licences, each of which has a minimum price of Bt12.8 billion. The high court will issue a ruling on the appeal at 8.30am tomorrow. The NTC said yesterday it would postpone the 3G licence auction by 2-3 days if granted permission to proceed with the auction. In a 16-page verdict issued last Thursday, the Central Administrative Court said there would be a number of obstacles ahead if the 3G licence auction was allowed to proceed now, because the NTC itself was in a transition phase, awaiting the formation of a new regulatory body. According to the 2007 Constitution, the authority to manage the radio frequencies that would be used by 3G licensees, rests with the National Broadcasting and Telecom Commission (NBTC). The NTC will be replaced by the new body when the NBTC bill, now pending in Parliament, is enacted into law. Finance Minister Korn said it would be a loss of opportunity if the licence auction was postponed. However, there would be greater damage if it emerged later on that the NTC did not have the authority to hold the auction in the first place. Once the NBTC is set up, the new regulatory body could then hold the auction, Korn said, noting that the delay could be around three to four months. The finance minister also hoped that the current 2G (second-generation) telecom concessions granted by stated-owned CAT Telecom and TOT could be converted into licences after the NBTC becomes operational. The government had feared that both CAT and TOT would be losers if their 2G concessions were not changed into licences soon - largely because consumers (mobile users) were likely to shift to the new 3G network. Both CAT and TOT are owned by the Finance Ministry and supervised by the Information, Communication and Technology Ministry. CAT also told the court that it would be damaged if the 3G auction went ahead. TOT also filed a separate petition before the court, opposing the auction. Both CAT and TOT own 2G concessions now used by the major mobile firms - AIS, DTAC and True, which have been keen to bid for 3G licences. The existing 2G infrastructure would be returned to the state when the concessions expire in three to eight years. Meanwhile, Pichai Naritapan, a member of the opposition Pheu Thai Party's working group on economic affairs, said it would be a loss of opportunity for the country if the 3G licence auction was further delayed. "The new 3G network will allow new investment and services which would help develop the country. For example, it will provide high-speed mobile Internet service to students in rural areas where otherwise there is no access to the Net. -- The Nation 2010-09-19 Link to post Share on other sites More sharing options...
Create an account or sign in to comment
You need to be a member in order to leave a comment
Create an account
Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!Register a new account
Already have an account? Sign in here.Sign In Now