Tag: 3G

ITU World Radiocommunication Seminar loosen the definition of 4G

After many month of confusion marked by the appearance of network services marketed as 4G by operators while they technically weren’t, the International Telecommunication Union admitted that the term 4G could be used for these technologies.

During the World Radiocommunication Seminar 2010 (WRS-10) held  in Geneva, the ITU declared that “As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as “4G”, although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed.”
This means that “evolved 3G technologies” like HSPA+  and WiMax offering a notable improvement on currently available 3G technologies can be labeled as 4G even if they don’t meet the requirements of IMT Advanced specifications.

While International Organizations like ITU, manufacturers and network operators seem to put more effort on standardization and collaboration, this episode shows that there is still a long way to go before customers can find their way in the jungle of contradictory designations.

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Thai Government revives telecom pool plan

From The Bangkok Post

The government has revived a “pool” concept to further develop telecommunications after the collapse of the 3G auction plan last week.

The concept floated three years ago by the Surayud government envisions a single national network handling call traffic from private operators who would manage marketing and customer services. ICT Minister Juti Krairiksh said when he took office in June he would check on the plan. The government has now resurrected the proposal and dubbed it the “national broadband project”, appointing Mr Juti’s deputy, Trairong Suwannakhiri, to oversee its implementation.

The government plans to submit the proposal to the cabinet for consideration on Oct 12.

The idea has drawn a mixed reaction from operators and telecom experts. Sittichai Pookaiyaudom supported the telecom pool idea when he was ICT minister in the Surayud government in 2007. He said state telecom agency TOT Plc should serve as a network provider for the industry. All state enterprises with telecom networks should then be combined into “one single network” to serve as a national telecom highway to be leased to private companies.
But Mr Sittichai conceded the plan would be almost impossible now given the many state agencies and the different laws and ministerial authority. TOT and CAT Telecom also hold concessions with private companies. They would need mutual agreements to carry out any such activities.
Mr Sittichai said the ICT Ministry should draft a new law to govern the project to simplify the process.

Advanced Info Service CEO Wichian Mektrakarn agreed with the idea to establish a telecom pool as it would pave the way to eliminating redundant investments in network infrastructure. But he said the state must set up at least two Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed companies to operate and manage the telecom pool services to prevent monopoly problems from arising.

The Finance Ministry should hold no more than 49% in the two entities with the rest being held by private mobile operators together with other state enterprises such as the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. State enterprises would bring their assets and turn them into equity in the new companies.

An independent selection committee should be set up to choose qualified executives to manage the two companies. A service level agreement, a contract between network service providers and customers, should then be drafted to specify the service terms.

Suphachai Chearavanont, president and chief executive of True Corp, said the telecom pool model was a good idea as it could lower industry costs and encourage free market competition.

Pooling could include the sharing of infrastructure such as transmission towers or excess fibre optic wiring, where operators in need of higher capacity would draw on pooled resources. Or pooling could refer to network systems in active use, where operators share in backbone infrastructure. Pooling might also be done at the “last mile”, a reference to infrastructure tying homes and offices to the main networks.
It would require endorsement from the National Telecommunications Commission, which means the state would need to withdraw the court case on the NTC’s authority to move the project forward.

“This is still a chicken and egg question,” Mr Suphachai said.

Anuparp Thiralarp, an independent telecom expert, said a single national broadband network was a good idea but “just a dream”.

Implementation of the project would be difficult as it required cooperation from state enterprises under different departments and ministries.

Meanwhile, TOT plans to resubmit its 3G investment plan to the cabinet today.

Thailand: Only three 3G bidders

From The Bangkok Post

Bangkok Post

No surprises as foreign firms stay away

Published: 31/08/2010 at 12:09 AM
Online news: Local News

Thailand’s 3G mobile phone services inched closer to reality Monday when the three leading mobile operators submitted bid documents for the licence auction scheduled for Sept 20.

Monday was the deadline the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) set for all interested firms to submit their bidding documents with the required 500,000 baht 3G processing fee and 1.28 billion baht bank guarantee as a deposit.

A DTAC executive submits a 1.28-billion-baht cheque to NTC officials as required as a bank guarantee of 10% of the reserve bid price for a 3G licence. As predicted, the three existing private 2G mobile operators – Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC and True Move – were the only bidders without international competition. (Photo by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn)

Win Win NGV submitted their documents as a fourth firm, but was disqualified when it failed to include the 1.28 billion baht deposit and letter of intent.

As predicted, the three existing private 2G mobile operators – Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC and True Move – were the only bidders without international competition. The absence of an international bidder is likely to ensure the bidding will be conservative and winning bids lower than expected. AIS subsidiary Advance Wireless Network was the first to submit, followed by DTAC Internet Service and Real Move, a subsidiary of True Move. AIS placed a bank guarantee with Bangkok Bank, while DTAC used HSBC Bank and Real Move posted Siam Commercial Bank for its bank guarantee.

Win Win NGV is a Thai-owned importer and assembler of NGV-equipped vehicles. It belongs to the children of Prasit Pothasuthon, a senator for Suphanburi province and chairman of the Senate Committee for Science, Technology, Communications and Telecommunications. Mr Prasit is a strong opponent of the NTC’s 3G auction, accusing it of offering too low a starting price. He suggested a possible price of 330 billion baht after earlier studies by a research organisation.

Mr Prasit even asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate alleged irregularities in handling the 3G auction. But Mr Prasit’s son, Yuthana Pothasuthon, an adviser for Win Win, said his company had no intention of becoming a nominee for anyone as speculated. “We truly want to enter the 3G auction as we expect the business will create a new revenue stream and make a profit.” He did not elaborate on business plans or prospective partners.  “We have no intention of making any problems for the auction or the NTC,” said Mr Yuthana. He said he misunderstood that the bank guarantee and letter of intent could be submitted to the NTC two or three days after the deadline.

Meanwhile Samart I-Mobile scrapped its plan to bid, saying it wanted to focus on strengthening existing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service for TOT Plc. The handset flagship distributor of Samart Corp said its decision was based on a study that concluded 3G investment was not worth the high investment cost and risks required.

The three potential bidders now have to be screened to see if they meet the licence criteria. The NTC plans to announce the list of qualified bidders for the auction on Sept 15.

The NTC will auction three licences with a reserve bid price of 12.8 billion baht. Each licence features a 15-year term with a 15-MHz bandwidth. It plans to spend 50 million baht to hold the auction on Sept 20 in Hua Hin broadcast on satellite TV.

Col Natee Sukonrat, an NTC commissioner, said it will use an N-1 approach, meaning the number of licences will equal the number of bidders minus one. This approach is to ensure higher competition and potentially raise prices. A second auction is planned for remaining licences 90 days after the close of the first auction. The starting bid would be the wining price of the first auction. Col Natee said he believed foreign companies would participate in the second auction and were waiting to see a transparent first auction prior to participation.

Anuparb Thiralarp, an independent telecom expert, said the absence of foreign participation in the 3G auction came as no surprise, given the confusion over many aspects of the bidding terms and lack of clarity about pricing and foreign shareholding regulations.

5 bidders expected in Thai 3G auction

Five companies bought bid documents for the 3G license auction when the National Telecommunications Commission opened the sale of bid documents. The NTC plans to hold the auction of licenses for 3G services in the fourth week of September.

AIS, DTAC and True Corp, the three main mobile operators of Thailand have bought bid documents for the 3G auction. The other two applicants are Samart and Loxley, who currently operate as MVNO under TOT.

The auctioning process has been regularly delayed and some problems are still to be solved. The starting bidding price for a 15-year license is set at THB12.8 billion (US$402.9 million). In addition, operators will have to follow strict regulations about foreign involvement in the companies, redistribution of the revenue and network capacity.

The auction could face further delays because the terms of three NTC members will expire next month and the regulator might be replaced by the new National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. This could potentially leave the process open to legal challenge.