The Nation



NBTC considers 700MHz for telecom systems

THE SUBCOMMITTEE for revising the frequency master plan of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has started reviewing the plan by focusing on re-farming out the 700-megahertz band for providing telecommunications services.

The first meeting of the subcommittee recently outlined a revision of the master plan to bring it in line with the frequency-allocation table of the World Radio Conference 2012 (WRC-12).

The NBTC master plan, issued in April 2011, needs to be revised every two years in order to meet the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) standards. The existing frequency master plan is based on WRC-2008.

The main topic of the scheme to revise the master plan concerns the 700MHZ band. Part of its spectrum is being used for analog TV broadcasting. Currently 510-790MHz is for broadcasting services, including the digital TV system. Digital TV channel licences will be auctioned on December 26-27.

But according to WRC-12, 700MHz is set for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) services. Recently, Malaysia and the GSM Association (GSMA), an association of world mobile operators and related companies devoted to the promotion of the GSM mobile telephone system, asked instead for the NBTC to take 700MHz spectra from broadcasting for providing telecommunications services.

As part of the revision, the subcommittee will propose that the NBTC reclaim the 470-510MHz spectra, which is used by TOT for providing rural telephone services, for broadcasting.

It will propose that the NBTC rearrange the spectrum for broadcasting in the range of 470-694MHz, and the range of 694-790MHz for telecommunications services. It will also allocate 450-470MHz for telecom services.

Thanapant Raichareon, NBTC deputy secretary-general, said the NBTC needs one year to revise and re-farm spectra plans, especially negotiating with TOT to reclaim TOT 470MHz.

TOT has never clarified to the NBTC its use of 478-483.5MHz and 489-493.5 MHz for mobile phone services in 5,100 tambon rural areas in 75 provinces nationwide, with 24,093 users. TOT claimed the service is also reserved for communication during disaster periods.

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