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GSMA Supports Thai Government's Move to Open 3G Auction

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The GSM Association has welcomed and supported the Thai Government initiative to license the 2100MHz spectrum band for 3G Mobile Broadband. The GSMA urged the government to proceed with the license auction without delay.

At a seminar endorsed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the GSMA highlighted that Thailand will gain significant economic and social benefits through this new wave of investment in mobile infrastructure. Based on calculations by LECG, a global economic consultancy, annual industry investment of USD1 billion per year could mean annual GDP gains of USD2.3 billion and nearly 80,000 jobs per year over the period of 2010-2014. The LECG report also highlights that the upcoming 2100MHz spectrum license offers Thailand a significant opportunity to encourage further investment and competition in the mobile telecommunications sector. A well-designed and transparent spectrum auction process is likely to generate the most efficient use of scarce spectrum.

"The GSMA believes that any further delays and changes in the licensing programme would affect the country's credibility, increase uncertainty and the risk perception associated to it. This would in turn reduce the chance of receiving the investments that are vital to the Thai economy to recover from global recession," said Sebastian Cabello, Regulatory Manager, GSMA. "The impact of Mobile Broadband technologies in emerging markets is transformative and will play a crucial role in narrowing the "digital divide" in broadband between developed nations and nations like Thailand."

A recent World Bank econometrics analysis of 120 countries estimated that for every 10-percentage-point increase in the penetration of broadband services, there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points (Qiang 2009). This growth effect of broadband is even stronger in developing countries than in developed economies. In Thailand, in particular, investing in advanced mobile networks would boost its incipient software applications and local content industries, increasing enterprise connectivity and enabling greater mobility across its territory.

"Although 65.3 million Thai citizens have access to mobiles today, only 1.8 million enjoy broadband services, which highlights that the population is desperately in need of broadband access, a need that may be addressed through investment in 3G networks if they have any hope catching up with neighboring countries," said Cabello. LECG estimates the annual consumer benefit from the introduction of 3G services in Thailand will exceed USD1 billion per year by 2014, contingent on a clear policy framework that promotes open and fair competition for all players.

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