NBTC receives first 3G payments from two operators


BANGKOK, Oct 19 – Two of the three winning operators for the third-generation mobile spectrum handed over cheques, each worth more than Bt 7 billion, to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) today.

The initial payments were for licences to operate 3G frequencies awarded to them in an auction on Tuesday.

Advanced Wireless Network, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service, was the first operator to make the payment with a Bt 7.824 billion cheque, followed by Real Future, a subsidiary of True Corp, which produced a Bt 7.222 billion cheque.

Dtac Network, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication, has yet to pay the first installment.

Letters of certification were given by the NBTC to all three operators today.

Thakorn Tantasit, NBTC secretary general, brushed aside an allegation of collusion with the private sector in the auction, explaining that it was done in accord with Section 45 of the Frequency Allocation Act since the NBTC is an independent, not government, agency.

The Finance Ministry and Electronic Government Procurement commission earlier today submitted a letter to the NBTC, warning that the Tuesday’s auction was a breach of the Price Collusion Act since there was no genuine price competition among bidders.

Mr Thakorn said an auction under the Frequency Allocation Act is separate from e-auction as stipulated by the 2006 regulation of the Prime Minister’s Office on e-auction procurement.

He said the NBTC is fully authorised to conduct the auction and the expense-deducted revenue will be income of the state, reaffirming that the NBTC will issue licences to the bid winners and the first batch of Bt 22.269 billion revenue will be sent to the state coffer.

He said the NBTC will protect consumers’ rights by demanding a reduction of 3G voice service to the maximum of 99 stang.