The planned auction for Thailand’s third generation 3G wireless service due to be held Monday as the National Telecommunications Commission NTC awaits the decision of a court has been postponed for an indefinite period, a senior official said Saturday.Col Natee Sukonrat, NTC commissioner who serves as chairman of the 3G auction committee, told TNA that his agency had been informed by the Supreme Administrative Court that it had accepted an appeal against a ruling by the court forbidding it from holding the 3G auction until the Constitution Court rules on its authority, or a new regulating body, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission NBTC, is formed.
Originally, the court was to rule on the issue Monday morning, the same day the 3G auction was to be held at a hotel in Prachuap Khiri Khan.Three bidders–Advanced Info Service AIS, DTAC and True Move–have been informed of the court decision to rule on the case, said Col Natee. As the three giant telecommunications firms await the court’s decision, the NTC decided to postpone the auction until the court makes a clear ruling, he said.
The NTC said yesterday it would postpone the 3G licence auction by 2-3 days if granted permission to proceed with the auction. In a 16-page verdict issued last Thursday, the Central Administrative Court said there would be a number of obstacles ahead if the 3G licence auction was allowed to proceed now, because the NTC itself was in a transition phase, awaiting the formation of a new regulatory body.
According to the 2007 Constitution, the authority to manage the radio frequencies that would be used by 3G licensees, rests with the National Broadcasting and Telecom Commission (NBTC).
Finance Minister Korn said it would be a loss of opportunity if the licence auction was postponed. However, there would be greater damage if it emerged later on that the NTC did not have the authority to hold the auction in the first place. Once the NBTC is set up, the new regulatory body could then hold the auction, Korn said, noting that the delay could be around three to four months.