NBTC Receives Royal Endorsement

After 13 years in the making, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) was appointed and received royal endorsement on 7 October 2011.  The NBTC is responsible for, among other matters, regulating, licensing and assigning frequencies for telecommunication services.  The NBTC says it intends to auction licenses for 3G mobile services on international standard frequencies.  Frustrated with the delay, many telecommunications operators are already providing a form of 3G services on less than ideal frequencies.

Regulation of telecommunications in Thailand has been mired in controversy.  The predecessor to the current NBCT issued a notification on so-called foreign domination of telecommunications businesses.  Thailand’s third largest telecommunications provider, True, filed a complaint alleging that Thailand’s second largest telecommunications provider, DTAC, was operating in violation of Thailand’s Foreign Business Act (FBA).  On 28 September, the predecessor to the current NBTC ordered revision of a 3G contract between the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) – one of the two major state enterprises engaging in telecommunication businesses in Thailand – and True. The formation of the NBTC will probably not end the controversy surrounding the regulation of the telecommunications sector in Thailand.