Thai 3G network delayed following dispute

A HSPA network expansion in Thailand has hit difficulty after doubts arose over the legality of the deployment. The National Social & Economic Development Board has reportedly recommended that operators CAT Telecom and True suspend their network expansion while legal issues are investigated.

The two operators have an arrangement covering 3G services whereby a number of True’s subsidiaries lease capacity from CAT on a reciprocal basis. However, CAT’s auditors are reportedly displeased that the terms of the agreement prevent them from monitoring the network’s management.

The agreement states that the network infrastructure supplied by BFKT - a subsidiary of the firm Real Future which is itself owned by True – would be used exclusively with CAT’s frequencies for 14 years. While the infrastructure is operated by BFKT, CAT maintains that it has the right to control and manage the frequencies.

The matter is further complicated by the licensing terms, which require all spectrum management to be handled by the licensee. This casts doubt over the legality of CAT’s apparent delegation of management to BFKT; a verdict will be delivered following an investigation by Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission.

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