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Thailand 2G auction tentatively earmarked for 2014

Regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is planning to farm out 25MHz of 1800MHz spectrum, as the existing license with CAT Telecom expires in September this year.

Thailand is looking at the possibility of holding an auction for 2G spectrum by the third quarter of 2014, as the current contract with state-owned CAT Telecom will wind down this September.

According to The Nation's report Wednesday, local operators True Move and Digital Phone Company (DPC), a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS), will be returning their 12.5 megahertz (MHz) of 1800MHz bandwidth each to CAT Telecom once their concessions end later this year.

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True Move and Digital Phone Company will return their spectrum to state-owned CAT Telecom in September 2013.

As such, state regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has set up a sub-panel to look into the feasibility of holding the 2G auction next year. The schedule may be pushed back if CAT Telecom wishes to extend its spectrum licenses for another two years based on its existing contract terms, noted Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee, in the report.

Settapong added a panel for the auction proceedings will be set up by the middle of this year, should things advance positively.

Meanwhile, the sub-panel has also been looking into the actions needed to take to ensure customers of True Move and DPC are not affected should there be a spectrum auction.

Among its considerations is expanding the number portability capabilities of all local operators, so that if True Move and DPC customers move to other service providers, their phone numbers remain consistent. The NBTC will finalize the plans for number portability "early next month", the report added.

According to The Nation, the current daily limit for number transfer for the five domestic operators is capped at 40,000 numbers.

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