The court Thursday listened to complainant Anuparp Thiralarp, former president of the Thailand Telecommunication Management Academy, and executives of the National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), the agency that is organising the auction.
After the meeting, both sides said the court had received enough information and was aware of the planned auction. The court will later inform both parties whether it will accept the complaint and whether it will issue an injunction to delay the auction if it accepts the complaint for trial.
Before meeting the court Thursday, Mr Anuparp said he had asked the court in his petition to postpone the auction until the NBTC changes its regulations for 3G phone operators to ensure maximum benefits for the public as stipulated in Section 47 of the constitution.
He wants the NBTC to change its regulations on the ceiling of service fees, require operators to guarantee the continuation of their services, and specify 3G service areas to ensure public access.
Mr Anuparp pointed out that the terms for the auction included an annex that allowed the NBTC to adjust its regulations and the NBTC could do so in two days and then proceed with the auction.
He dismissed the NBTC's request to organise the bid first and change its regulations later. He said a court had ordered the NBTC to solve unfair contracts imposed on pre-paid mobile phone users six years ago but the NBTC had failed to do so and was buying time with its appeal.
In response to the NBTC's threat to sue opponents of the 3G auction, Mr Anuparp said the NBTC could do so if it considered it was a damaged party but that he was only exercising his rights as a citizen and wondered if it was suitable for NBTC members who were government officials to make such threats.
Meeting the court yesterday, NBTC commissioner Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn said it would be illegal for the NBTC to set a fee ceiling before selecting a 3G licensee because a ceiling had to be based on an operator's auction and project investment costs. He assured that the NBTC had already announced that 3G service fees had to be fair to both service providers and users.
Mr Suthiphon said the NBTC told the court that the complainant's demand would lead the NBTC to commit a wrong.
He said the NBTC expected more legal complaints to obstruct the 3G auction.
He cited a study by the National Institute of Development Administration which found that the delay in 3G phone services caused 210 million baht worth of economic damage a day in Thailand.