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Thailand urged to redo mobile frequency band

Two international telecom organizations say country's plan to use 700 MHz band for digital TV broadcasting would interfere with neighboring countries' networks, leading to GDP and tax revenue losses.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor on

Two international telecom organizations have warned Thailand is at "extreme risk" of failing to comply with international frequency standards for mobile services, which may cause severe wireless signal interference along its borders.

Thailand's plan for 700 MHz band for digital TV broadcasting could result in wireless interference at the borders, GDP and tax revenue losses.

This comes after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) unveiled a roadmap to use the 700-megahertz (MHz) frequency for digital TV broadcasting, The Bangkok Post reported Tuesday. The 700-MHz band is used for mobile communication in Europe, Latin America, Asia and neighboring countries of Thailand, the GSM Association and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said.

However, a GSM report noted the NBTC's frequency plan could disrupt neighboring countries' plans for network investment along the borders with Thailand, resulting in potential losses in gross domestic product of US$3.4 billion and tax revenue losses of US$400 million, said Jesada Sivaraks, secretary to the NBTC's vice chairman.

Around 96,000 new jobs will not be created, and business opportunities including handset sales for network investments will also be lost, Jesada added.

The report also said if Thailand allocates the 700-MHz frequency for mobile services, it will increase GDP by US$18.9 billion from 2014 to 2020. Mobile broadband also provides better opportunities for the education and healthcare sectors, especially in rural areas with low infrastructure investment.

Jesada said the NBTC will raise this issue at its board meeting for emergency agendas next month, after GSM executives met the regulator on Friday. The ITU also plans to meet NBTC commissioners soon, he added.

The association also urged Thailand to comply with technology harmonization guidelines under an agreement made among Asia-Pacific countries, Jesada noted.

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