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Research by Country/Region January 20, 2018  
Thailand: Broadband Fixed Wireless Access

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A. CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICY GOVERNING ACCESS TO THE WORLDWIDE FIXED WIRELESS ACCESS band (3.4 to 3.7 GHz), LMDS (28-31 GHz), AND UNLICENSED BANDS

The Post and Telegraph Department (PTD), Ministry of Information Technology and Communication (MICT), is a government agency responsible for frequency utilization and allocation in Thailand. The government is in the process of establishing a National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as independent agencies governing the telecommunication and broadcasting businesses in Thailand. The current policy on frequency allocation and monitoring is still under the nominal authority of the PTD, based on the Telecommunication Business Operation Act B.E. 2498 (1955), but PTD has no authority for approvals, pending the formal creation of the NTC.

According to PTD, the current status of the fixed wireless band (3.4-3.7 GHz), LMDS (28-31 GHz) and unlicensed bands are:

Fixed Wireless Band (3.4-4.7 GHz)
The frequency used for worldwide fixed wireless access (3.4-3.7 GHz) has been allocated for extended C-band (sky-to-earth) satellite services, which are operated by Shin Satellite PLC. Shin Satellite also operates the iPSTAR broadband satellite system for satellite-based last mile broadband Internet service, many kinds of multimedia content, applications and services.

LMDS Band (28-31 GHz)
This spectrum has not yet been allocated or licensed to any operators.

Unlicensed bands:
There is no definition for unlicensed bands in Thailand. The spectrum available for unlicensed bands has yet to be determined. The spectrum of unlicensed bands in each country is different. This needs to be clarified by NTC.

B. DEMAND OR NEED FOR BROADBAND FIXED WIRELESS SERVICES

Broadband Fixed Wireless services in Thailand have just started. It is very difficult to forecast demand in the future. It depends on the accessibility of services, price and mobility of customers.

At present, the Post and Telegraph Department allows Internet Service Providers (ISP) to use band 2.4 GHz for a fixed Internet wireless access service generally known as “Wireless Hot Spot” or “Broadband Hot Spot”. These services are available in some commercial buildings, shopping malls, hotels and airports. The ISPs say the target market is upper class and corporate customers, which can afford to pay and need flexibility while traveling with Laptop, PDA, Palm, Tablet PC and other wireless devices. Corporate customers account about 20-25% for of the 3.5 million of total Internet users in Thailand and 35% of them live in Bangkok. The ISPs say Wireless Hot Spot users are mostly innovators who are Internet savvy and have a modern lifestyle. Current users are less than 0.2% of total users in Bangkok.


C. LICENSING

To be a service provider, the company must acquire a new operating license from the Post and Telegraph Department (PTD). However, because formation of the new regulatory office - the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) - is not complete, approvals of new licenses for new services, extended service and new service providers are in limbo.

However, there are two options to enter into the market prior to the formal creation of the NTC:

1) Partnering with TOT Corporation PLC (formerly the Telephone Organization of Thailand) or the Communication Authority of Thailand (CAT), both of whom own perpetuity licenses for telecommunication services. Interested companies must implement the service under their brands by offering a total solution package such as marketing, selling, distributing and servicing directly to customers. The company pays for backbone usage or other services incurred when using the services via TOT Corp or CAT’s infrastructure.
2) Partnering with privately owned companies, which are existing licensees, and implementing the service with them.


D. FOREIGN OWNERSHIP LIMITS

The current law applying to telecommunication service operator limits foreign ownership up to 25% in the company. However, an amendment allowing foreign ownership up to 49% is in the governmental process, which will be submitted to the parliament in August 2003.

E. INTERCONNECTION TARIFFS

There is no standard tariff applicable when partnering with CAT, a provider of international connection and bandwidth. Pay-per-use of its infrastructures is normally applicable. BFW service providers are able to offer royalty, profit sharing schemes, or benefit packages based on negotiation separately with CAT. However, the CAT’s board of members must approve the details and conditions of contract payment.

F. OTHER POLICIES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING BFW

Since BFW services are new to Thailand, the Post and Telegraph Department has not yet seriously considered regulations for service deployment. In the meantime, the PTD allows use of the 2.4 GHz band for basic wireless access service, when deployed inside of buildings. Use in outside areas and between buildings is not permitted. When the NTC is established, the regulators are expected to review frequency allocation and utilization again. At that time, laws and regulations governing wireless access services will be clearly determined.

G. TO WHAT EXTENT ARE BFW SERVICES BEING OFFERED BY DOMESTIC OR INTERNATIONAL FIRMS?

The service areas are strictly limited, specifically inside commercial buildings, shopping malls, hotels and airports. The services known as “Wireless Hot Spot” or “Wi-Fi Technology” have been installed in less than 2% of commercial buildings located in Bangkok. The system is designed to serve customers within an area around 100 meters in diameter from the point of service. It can accommodate up to 30-100 concurrent users depending on the bandwidth they are consuming. Those Internet Service Providers plan to extend the services to be installed in commercial buildings in provincial areas by the end of 2003.

H. CURRENT LIST OF BFW ACCESS PROVIDERS

The major service providers are Internet Thailand PLC, CS Loxinfo Co., Ltd, and Asia Infonet Co, Ltd. They use band 2.4 GHz in the operation. Their equipment suppliers are local engineering, importing and trading firms, which have licenses for importing telecommunication equipment/products/technology from the Post and Telegraph Department. Importers must submit documents containing product specification, type, brand, manufacturers, country of origin and other information on the technology for type approval to PTD. Those suppliers mostly are able to serve customers countrywide, including installation, training and after-sales services.

As described in item G, Internet Service Providers are concentrating on customers in metropolitan areas. Provincial accessibility will deploy later.

License period:

Company License since BFW Service areas License expires
Internet Thailand PLC 1996 Bangkok Perpetuity license
CS Loxinfo Co., Ltd. 1996 Bangkok 2006
Asia Infonet Co., Ltd. 1997 Bangkok 2007

I. CERTIFICATION PROCEDURES, AND IMPORT DUTIES

Manufacturers, importers and distributors of telecommunication equipment are required to register with PTD and their equipment requires type approval by PTD. Other types of telecommunications equipment are required to be approved by the grantors of the concessions (either CAT or TOT Corp).

Telecommunications equipment and spare parts imported into Thailand are subject to the following import duty rates:

Harmonized Code Description Duty Rate
85.25 Transmission apparatus 5%
85.26 Radar apparatus 10%
85.27 Reception apparatus 25%
85.28 TV receivers, video monitors 30%
85.29 Spare parts 25%
85.44200 Co-axial cable 40%
85.44700 Optical fiber cable 40%

The above duty rates are calculated on the C.I.F. Bangkok value. There is an additional 7% Value-Added Tax, to be calculated on top of the C.I.F. value plus import duty.

RESPONSE INFORMATION

This response was prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce/Commercial Service in Bangkok, Thailand, in June 2003. For further clarification please contact:

Satit Sanongphan
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, Bangkok
Satit.Sanongphan @mail.doc.gov

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