Thai regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is reportedly mulling plans to allocate up to 10MHz of spectrum in the 800MHz band to support the development of wireless broadband internet both in high speed trains and the wider telecoms sector. The Nation newspaper reports that the NBTC and the Transport Ministry have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on ‘allocating the bandwidth for wireless railway communication under the high speed rail projects, using Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) technology’. Confusing the issue, however, Thai telcos are petitioning to use the 800MHz spectrum to beef up their mobile services – particularly in more rural areas where the lower band provides wider service coverage. The paper notes that the spectrum in question is currently being used by Total Access Communication (DTAC) under a CAT Telecom concession that will expire in September 2018. Although the regulator auctioned off two licences for 900MHz services in December last year – True Corp and Jasmine International subsidiary Jas Mobile Broadband each winning a concession, although the latter has since had its application rescinded for non-payment of the first instalment, with it instead being issued to Advanced Info Service subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network – the 800MHz band is seen as vital given the paucity of available lower-band spectrum.
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