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NBTC chiefs to meet Prayuth shortly

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will this week meet General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, the director of the National Council for Peace and Order, to clarify its plan to auction 1800MHz and 900MHz spectrum licences.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, said last week that he and Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the Telecom Committee, would meet Prayuth together.

Last week Prayuth ordered the watchdog to put four projects on hold until the NCPO completes its scrutiny of them to ensure transparency.

The projects are the 1800MHz auction set for August and 900MHz auction for November, distribution of Bt1,000 vouchers to buy digital TV set-top boxes and Bt20 billion spending on basic telecom infrastructure nationwide under the NBTC's universal service obligation (USO) rules.

The 1800MHz auction is expected to be allowed to go ahead soon without any delay to the schedule, he said.

One question involves a condition for the auction of two 1,800MHz licences that requires the NBTC to wait for one month for more applicants if there are only one or two qualified bidders, he said recently.

If no more applicants are forthcoming, the regulator will go ahead with the auction.

However, this condition might face the risk of a legal challenge from any party complaining that it promotes low competition in the auction, he said.

The Bt20-billion USO project is expected to be put on the back burner for a long time since it is redundant with projects of other ministries, such as Education, ICT and Interior, he said.

The NCPO is likely to allow the NBTC to proceed with the voucher giveaway after he clarified the plan with the NCPO committee tasked with following up on and inspecting state spending last Friday.

The committee said the regulator could go ahead with the voucher plan, pending the public hearing on the plan, he said.


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