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Thai regulator calls for unified licensing

Thailand may adopt a unified licensing regime for its telecoms and broadcasting sectors.

The move is currently under consideration by the country’s regulator, NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission), with commissioner Prawit Leesatapornwongsa claiming that the increasing overlap between the sectors required a new strategy.

The Bangkok Post quoted Prawit as saying: “Having separate, inflexible laws doesn’t match with the era of technological convergence.” He illustrated this point by noting that telecoms operators that offer IPTV services need separate ISP licences from both the NBTC’s telecoms and broadcasting committees, saying: “this licensing practice causes operators to pay double licensing fees, with these costs passed on to consumers.”

Prawit added that a draft bill that would update the separate licensing regimes was scheduled to take effect in May, but noted that the regulator would need to lay out a clear path towards spectrum auctions or risk deterring investors in Thailand’s digital infrastructure.

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