If the Senate fails to appoint four new telecom commissioners today, the existing commissioners will move to revise the auction plan for 3G licences by putting only three licences up for sale, instead of four.
A source from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said last week that the |existing members had tentatively agreed to offer only three 3G licences for the 2.1GHz wireless broadband spectrum, each with 10MHz bandwidth.
The other licence with 15MHz bandwidth should be withheld from the auction and kept in reserve for future bandwidth demand. Putting only three licences on the auction block would also promote fiercer competition among the bidders than for four licences.
The source said the plan to auction only three licences was also in line with the opinions expressed during the second public hearing on the proposed auction rules held earlier this month.
According to the NTC's exist-|ing plan, all four 3G licences will |be up for grabs at a starting bid of Bt5.2 billion for the 15MHz licence and Bt4.6 billion for a 10MHz licence.
However, if the Senate succeeds in naming four new commissioners, the existing commissioners will not move to revise the auction plan but instead will wait for the new members to take office.
Then it is up to the new and existing commissioners to decide how they will proceed with the auction plan.
If the Senate fails to announce four new commissioners today, it will have to wait until the next Parliament session convenes in February.
One new commissioner will replace Artorn Chandavimol, who resigned in 2006 before his term ended.
The other three will replace |the commissioners who were bal-loted out in 2007, according to |the frequency allocation law. The |law lets the three balloted-out |members continue sitting until replaced.
Most of eight final candidates for the four NTC seats want to review the auction plan to make sure that it provides maximum benefit to consumers.
The NTC is also waiting for the opinion of the Council of State to confirm its legal authority to grant the 3G licences in the absence of |the new broadcasting and telecom regulator, which has yet to be formed.