Telecom panel nod for 3G rates
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commis-sion's telecom committee has approved in principle that the base rates for voice and data service fee of third-generation cellular service on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum must be 15 per cent lower than 92 satang per minute and 35 satang per minute respectively.If the three 2.1GHz licence holders offer bundled voice and data service packages to customers, the overall rate in the package must be 15 per cent lower than the present market rate.
The committee also approved that the licence holders must propose their own rates for the committee's consideration on a package-by-package basis before offering them to customers.
Telecom committee chairman Setta-pong Malisuwan said the low fee would be applied to all three licence holders for six months before the panel works out the effective maximum benchmark rates for them. The committee has to allow them to operate first on the interim service-fee rates to enable calculation of their operating cost for setting the benchmark rates.
The low 3G service fee is one condition in the 2.1GHz licences the NBTC granted to Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) of Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC Network of Total Access Communication (DTAC), and Real Future of True Corp, last December. AWN is expected to kick off the 3G-2.1GHz service and and Real Future a fourth-generation service next month.
In a separate matter, the committee next week will consider the case of mobile-phone-number portability, which is expected to be submitted to it by a subcommittee.
Recently, the committee asked the number-portability subcommittee to hold talks with the five telecom operators to seek a joint agreement to expand their capacity for phone-number portability above the present 40,000 numbers per day for all operators.
The portability facility enables existing mobile-phone users to use their existing phone numbers with the different networks they switch to.
While AIS, DTAC, and True want to expand the porting capacity to serve their plans to migrate a large number of subscribers to their upcoming 3G-2.1GHz networks, the state agencies TOT and CAT Telecom are reluctant to do so.