CAT's senior executive vice president, Kajornsak Singhaseni, said the second largest cellular operator DTAC wants to migrate around 200 existing customers in the analogue cellular service to the digital cellular service on the same 800 MHz spectrum, which it will utilise to provide the 3G service.
Kajornsak said CAT could not immediately grant DTAC's request to discontinue the analogue service because it would amount to a concession amendment. The state agency has to bring the request to the consideration of the public-private joint-venture committee overseeing the concession in order to comply with Article 22 of the Public-Private Joint Venture Act.
The consideration by such a committee will also take time, he added.
In the meantime, the same public-private joint venture committee is considering the recent request of DTAC to upgrade its network technology to provide the 3G service on the 800 MHz spectrum. Once approved, DTAC will be able to commercially provide the service.
DTAC has intended to try the service in Bangkok on a non-commercial basis within this year.
Recently the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) told CAT and TOT to urge each of their private mobile-phone concessionaires to make progress in their development of the 3G service on their existing spectrums. If they fail to show any progress, the NTC might consider taking back the parts of their spectrum bands that they are utilising to develop the 3G service or plan to utilise to develop the 3G service.
Advanced Info Service kicked off the 3G service on its existing 900 MHz spectrum last June on commercial basis, while True Move recently launched the 3G service on its 800 MHz spectrum on a non-commercial basis.
The NTC announced plans to auction four of the 2.1 GH spectrum licences for telecom operators to provide the 3G service but it has yet to finalise key details, including the auction process.
The 3G technology enables the cellular operators to transmit multimedia content such as video to the 3G mobile device users much faster.