July 01, 2013 00:00 By Usanee Mongkolporn The Nation
The Information and Communications Technology Ministry has vowed to boost Thailand's ranking in the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) into the top 50 next year - up from 74th place this year through continued promotion of ICT initiatives.
It has wants to boost our ranking for e-government capacity, as scored on an index done by Japan’s Waseda University to 15th place – from the present 20th plac,e before the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into being.
Thailand’s NRI ranking was announced at the World Economic Forum in Myanmar last month in the Global Information Technology Report 2013. The NRI measures preparedness of an economy to use ICT to boost competitiveness and well-being.
ICT minister Anudith Nakornthap said he was confident that the country’s ICT related rankings would climb up as a result of many state ICT projects, such as Smart Thailand, which involves the deployment of ICT technology to enhance national competitiveness and bridge the digital divide. He made the remark at the opening of Thailand-ITU Pavilion in the Mobile Asia Expo 2013 fair in Shanghai, China last week.
Anudith, who has been ICT minister for one year and 10 months, said Thailand’s overall broadband connections were expected get faster after the full utilisation of three 2.1GHz spectrum licences.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) granted 2.1GHz licences to Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), DTAC Trinet, and Real Future last December.
AWN has already launched a 3G service on its licence, while Real Future has launched both 3G and 4G services. DTAC TriNet will kick off its 3G service on the licence this month (July).
Anudith said the ministry was drafting a third e-government master plan for 2014 to 2019, focusing on strategies for all government units to further promote the Smart Thailand.
The ministry is waiting for the Cabinet to consider approving TOT and CAT Telecom proposals to continue using their spectra, from 900MHz to 1,800MHz and 2.3GHz to serve the Smart Thailand project.
It remains to be seen if Cabinet will approve both state agencies. Under the 2010 Frequency Allocation Law, all the state agencies have to return their spectra after a concession ends for the NBTC to reallocate – via an auction only. The NBTC already warned the Cabinet that approving the TOT and CAT proposals would be a breach of the frequency law.
Anudith last week also visited Huawei Technologies’ office in Shanghai. The giant telecom network equipment vendor gave a presentation to show him wireless broadband technologies, including the Frequency Division Duplex (FDD)-Long term Evolution (LTE) technology for 4G service on 1,800MHz and the Time Division Duplexing (TDD)-LTE technology for 4G service on 2.3GHz.