Thailand's bid for high-speed Internet stalled

September 23, 2010 By THANYARAT DOKSONE , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Thailand's bid to catch up with neighboring countries on advanced telecommunications technology has stalled after a court Thursday ruled to suspend a bidding process for 3G licenses.

The ruling means more delays for bringing the fastest to , which is one of the only countries in Southeast Asia without third-generation capabilities. Poorer neighbors such as Cambodia and Laos already have 3G, which allows faster upload and .

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld a lower court's injunction against a much-awaited 3G mobile license auction organized by the National Telecommunications Commission, saying the agency did not have the authority to put the licenses up for bidding.

The court also dismissed an argument from the commission, which said the absence of 3G network would hinder the performance of state agencies and other public service providers.

The auction must now wait until the Constitutional Court determines if the National Telecommunications Commission has the authority to hold the sale - or until Parliament moves to set up a new regulator. The auction was originally scheduled for Monday.

State-run CAT Telecoms Plc. had initially appealed to the Central Administrative Court to block the auction, saying its interests would be damaged and the country's telecoms regulator had no authority to offer the licenses. CAT Telecoms objects to the sale of the licenses to private firms because it says 3G customers will be able to use the 2G network the company currently provides to its customers but wouldn't be paying for it - their fees would be going to their 3G provider, instead.

CAT Telecom argued the National Commission cannot sell the licenses because it was formed under Thailand's 1997 constitution, which was replaced after the 2006 coup. The new Constitution, approved in 2007, requires a new independent body to regulate the frequency.

"The NTC must put on hold the 3G license auction until this court case is over," said the judge. Should the auction go on, it would "lead to more damage and would be difficult to solve afterward."

Until the new auction takes place, the court ordered the commission to return the auction deposits, of 1.28 billion baht ($41.6 million) each, to the three bidders, Advanced Info Service Pcl., Total Access Communication Pcl., and True Corp Pcl.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Wednesday his government wanted to see 3G services available in Thailand as soon as possible.

Explore further: India misses deadline for 3G auction

0 shares

Related Stories

India misses deadline for 3G auction

December 9, 2009

India's government has missed a deadline for inviting bidders to take part in its long-awaited auction for third generation (3G) mobile telecom services.

India 3G auction to be held on schedule: minister

December 11, 2009

India's long-awaited auction for third generation (3G) mobile telecom services will be held on schedule next month, a minister said Friday, dismissing media speculation of a delay.

India's billion-dollar 3G auction set to open

April 8, 2010

In an auction set to open Friday, India's mobile firms will bid billions of dollars to provide superfast third generation (3G) service in the country's booming cellular market.

India plans 4G mobile sale: report

April 14, 2010

India plans to hold an auction of ultra-high-speed fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone spectrum soon after completion of 3G access now underway, a report said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Sydney makes its mark with electronic paper traffic signs

July 28, 2015

Visionect, which is in the business of helping companies build electronic paper display products, announced that Sydney has launched e-paper traffic signs. The traffic signage integrates displays from US manufacturer E Ink ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.