Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blow to 3G

There was supposed to an auction for the 3G licenses in Thailand starting this Monday.  However, one of the smaller telecom players, who was not part of the bidding, successfully filed a lawsuit based on the grounds that the government agency, the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) didn't have the legal authority.

Apparently the 2007 constitution, promulgated by the 2006 coup makers, requires the setup of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).  Somehow, with all the political in fighting, protesting and grabs for power, no-one has been able to get this done in three years.  The government says it will be done by the end of the year or next year.

Its surprising that it hasn't been done, in that I'm sure the licensing scheme has the potential to make decision makers rich.  Truly, that seems to be what drives most behavior here.  The reds, yellows, browns (police) and green (military) are all the same here.  Personal enrichment at the expense of everything else.  If it cost your country billions so that you can make a few hundred thousand, isn't that a small price to pay. 

Thailand is actually falling behind Cambodia in 3G.  Businesses are claiming, no doubt accurately, that this is costing a lot of money and opportunity.  I wonder if Thailand will get 3G coverage before the U.S. and the Western nations have moved on to 5G. 

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