3G operators to be told: Reduce phone prices or lose the licences


BANGKOK, Dec 6 – The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has threatened to revoke the third-generation (3G) wireless licences for any of the three bid winners who refuse to lower mobile phone service fees by 15-20 per cent, a commission executive said.

NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasit said the NBTC will meet today and tomorrow to discuss further actions on the 3G mobile phone pricing now that the Administrative Court has rejected the Office of the Ombudsman’s injunction regarding the auction, clearing the way for the NBTC to issue licences to the three bid winners within the stipulated deadline.

The NBTC will thoroughly discuss conditions of the licences which clearly require the bid winners to reduce the rates of 3G mobile phone service.

Mr Takorn said Friday’s meeting will focus on negotiations with the three mobile phone operators, Advanced Info Service (AIS), Dtac and True Move, on price reduction.

The three companies have postponed an NBTC instruction to submit price reduction proposals by Nov 30, reasoning that they could not meet the deadline.

Mr Takorn said the NBTC will, instead of waiting for the operators’ proposals, set a condition for them to reduce the fees by 15 per cent of the average market rate.

“We won’t wait for them anymore. The NBTC meeting on Friday will be informed of an imposed rate to be attached with the to-be-issued licences. If they don’t accept our proposals, they won’t get the licences,” he said.

NBTC deputy president Settapong Malisuwan said after 3G licences are issued, the commission will conduct an auction of the 1800 megahertz bandwidth to use with the 4G wireless technology.

A roadmap for the 4G auction including the auction procedure, starting prices and the transition period for subscribers should be worked out next month, he said.