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CAT reprieve looks unlikely
[December 03, 2012]

CAT reprieve looks unlikely

Dec 03, 2012 (Bangkok Post - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- State-owned CAT Telecom is unlikely to be granted an extension to its deadline for submitting a report regarding its third-generation (3G) network contract amendment with True Corporation to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

CAT requested the deadline extension for another month from Nov 4, but the NBTC's telecommunications committee still has not approved it.

Despite the lack of approval, CAT has not submitted the report.

Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC's secretary-general, said the committee will meet tomorrow and include this issue on the agenda.

He said CAT has postponed submitting the report twice in the past two months and he cannot see the NBTC agreeing to any further delays.

The telecom regulator issued a resolution on June 20 ordering CAT to amend six items in its contract with True that was signed in January 2011.

The contract as written was judged to have violated Section 46 of the Frequency Allocation Act 2010, which requires licence holders and spectrum owners including CAT to manage spectrum rights on their own.

Under the deal, True took over the mobile business formerly run by the Hong Kong telecom giant Hutchison.

True subsidiary Real Move gained the rights to sell CAT's 3G service nationwide for 14.5 years, while another unit, Real Future, which owns BFKT (Thailand), was contracted to install 3G equipment on CAT's two nationwide cellular networks.

The NBTC requires CAT to confirm it uses the 850-megahertz spectrum for its own equipment and devices and exercises full management control over the network operations centre.

Mobile data use and call records must be owned by CAT, and the contract must be rewritten to stipulate that the state enterprise has full authority to manage the spectrum.

The contract also must clearly state that CAT is the sole authority to decide issues such as frequency planning, network rollouts and network operations.

Finally, the NBTC said CAT must have the authority to negotiate with other operators over inbound domestic roaming and interconnection charges.

Kittisak Sriprasert, CAT's chief executive, said the report is almost ready, and the company is only waiting to include certain details and clear legal language to prevent any problems later on.

Earlier he said CAT had three options _ amending the six items as required by the NBTC, drawing up an entirely new contract or drawing up a supplemental contract to be attached to the existing one.

Mr Takorn said if CAT continues to miss the deadline for submitting the report, then it could be ordered to halt operations.

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