Six Thai operators have signed on to a government proposal for a national broadband project, despite complaints from experts that the plan is far too light on details.
State-owned TOT and CAT Telecom and private players AIS, DTAC, True Move and Digital Phone, have jointly signed an MoU to share broadband network resources, the Bangkok Post said.
The signing was organized by ICT minister Chuti Krairiksh, the initiative's chief proponent, who has said he wants the MoU to serve as a framework for future co-operation.
Details of each company's participation will be decided by a joint industry panel. TOT and CAT Telecom have both said they will formulate their roles by next month.
The minister also plans to ask state utilities owning fiber networks to sign the same agreement, the Nation reported.
But the lack of details has left industry observers questioning whether the move is a political ploy, sources told the Bangkok Post.
Academic and independent telecom commentator Anuparb Thiralarp said that with the project lacking a commercial basis, operators may be reluctant to participate for fear their rivals will gain market advantage.
With the industry lacking an effective regulator after courts ruled that the NTC lacked the authority to hold a 3G auction, it would be “useless” to pursue the project, he added.
Some operators have privately expressed doubt over the project, with a representative from one private company noting that no senior executives from any of the private telcos attended the signing ceremony.
Thailand's national broadband policy aims to provide high-speed internet access to 80% of the population by 2015 and ensures that economically important provinces have access to 100Mbps connections.