Court ruling further delays 3G auction in Thailand

Thailand is one of the few remaining countries in East Asia without 3G mobile service.

Thailand's Supreme Administrative Court upheld a lower court ruling on Thursday to halt bidding for 3G licenses in the kingdom, one of the last countries in East Asia yet to roll-out 3G mobile phone service.

The decision derailed a spectrum auction planned for Monday and called into question when 3G licenses might be available to operators in Thailand.

Last week, Thailand's state-run CAT Telecom challenged the auction in court and won. The court said the government agency in charge of the auction, the Office of the National Telecommunication Commission, did not have the authority to grant spectrum until another government agency, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), had been established.

A government statement said the Prime Minister's office will seek to accelerate the opening of the NBTC in order to move forward on the 3G auction. The matter has already been sent to Parliament for review, but lawmakers were awaiting the Supreme Administrative Court's decision before going ahead. It could still take weeks for work on the commission to move forward, the statement says.

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Tags telecommunication3gGovernment of ThailandlegislationgovernmentCAT Telecom

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