The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is expected to finalise licensing terms and regulations for WiMax wireless broadband internet service and to issue operator licences next year.
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NTC secretary-general Suranant Wongwittayakamchaorn said the regulator had given permission to 14 companies to test WiMax for three months and now awaited their test results.
They include True Move, True Universal Communications, Nokia-Siemens, Ericsson, Loxley, CAT Telecom, TOT, Samart Telcoms-Provincial Electricity Authority, Transpacific Thailand, Triple T Broadband, Shin Satellite and United Communication Industry.
Longer WiMax tests are also being conducted by Mae Fah Luang and Rajabhat Maha Sarakham universities.
Mr Suranant said the WiMax bandwidth selected might be in the range of 2.5 gigahertz rather than 3.5 GHz because based on the test results, the latter range interferes with satellite communications.
He said that recently NTC, TOT Plc, Rajabhat, and King Mongkut University jointly launched the Tele-Centre for Education and Development in Rural Area programme in 20 rural schools.
The programme, a pilot project for WiMax tests, will expand to cover 76 provinces involving a budget of 7.6 billion baht, he said.
The Rajabhat Maha Sarakham University's WiMax test will take three years. The university was chosen because Maha Sarakham is the educational centre of the North, with the region's largest number of schools, colleges and universities.