Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thai Government Finally Auctions 3G Network to Telecom Companies

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. auction (v.) – the act of selling item/s to those who would pay the most money for it/them
Example: The museum decided to auction several paintings to art collectors.

2. network (n.) – system of connection between persons or objects
Example: Under the city is a network of pipes that supply water to houses and buildings.

3. nothing new (expr.) –already existing or common
Example:   Internet technology is nothing new to many young people nowadays.

4. regulator (n.) – person or group that controls or manages something
Example: The Food and Drug Administration is the regulator of food production and safety in the United States.

5. historic (adj.) – describing something very important that affects or changes history
Example: The creation of the World Wide Web was a historic achievement.

Read the text below.

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has auctioned nine licenses for 3G network technology to three telecommunications companies.

Using 3G (third generation) networks would allow telecom companies to earn more profit and to offer better communication services to smartphone users.

While 3G networks are only now being introduced in Thailand, it is nothing new to many of its neighboring countries. Japan, for example, has been using 3G networks for almost ten years. In fact, in Japan, telecom companies will soon launch 4G networks.

Thailand’s slow introduction of 3G networks is because of political problems. In 2010, the Thai government’s plan to auction 3G networks to telecom companies was delayed after a court said the government’s regulator at that time had no legal right to manage the auction.

The government later changed its regulatory system and established the NBTC in order to auction the 3G licenses.

But analysts criticize the cheap price that the NBTC set for each license. Each of the nine licenses was sold at around 4.5 billion baht. The government earned 41.6 billion baht ($1.4 billion) from the sale of all nine licenses.

Mr. Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, said auctioning the licenses at such low cost benefits only the telecom companies and not consumers. Companies can still charge customers with high prices for 3G services. Mr. Somkiat added that the three companies were also sold an equal amount of 3G bandwidth, which would not encourage competitiveness between the companies.

Nonetheless, NBTC considers the 3G network auction a historic event for Thailand.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why is it important for a country to have advanced communication technology?
·         Would you say your country’s Internet and mobile phone networks are good? Why or why not? What services would you like them to improve?

Discussion B

·         What mobile network are you currently using? Why do you choose this network?
·         Are you willing to spend for fast mobile network connection? Why or why not?


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