Thailand to auction dtac 4G spectrum in January

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 12 SEP 2017 Joseph Waring Thailand’s telecoms regulator accelerated plans to auction spectrum in the 850MHz and 1.8GHz bands currently operated by dtac.The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission’s (NBTC) announced it will conduct the auction in January, some three months earlier than originally planned, Bangkok Post reported. NBTC stepped up the timeline to ensure continuity of service after dtac’s concession with state-run CAT Telecom expires in September 2018.Dtac, the country’s third largest mobile operator with a 25 per cent market share, holds a concession to operate 10MHz on the 850MHz band and 45MHz on the 1.8GHz band.Based on the amount the government raised in auctions in late 2015, the NBTC expects the January sale to generate THB150 billion ($4.5 billion), Bangkok Post said.The regulator held two 4G auctions at the end of 2015, which raised THB232.66 billion for the government. Market leader AIS won 15MHz of 1.8GHz with a THB41 billion bid and True paid THB39.8 billion for a similar block. The two companies also each won 10MHz of 900MHz spectrum for about THB76 billion.Dtac, owned by Norway-based Telenor, didn’t participate in the 2015 auctions.Spectrum roadmapParadai Theerathada, chief of corporate affairs at dtac, said in March Thailand urgently needs a clear roadmap for spectrum availability to prepare for the expected surge in data demand in coming years, adding only a clear plan can prepare the country for the coming data deluge.Dtac is almost certain to bid in the upcoming auctions as it needs to expand its spectrum holdings to support its growing mobile operations. It also holds a licence for 15MHz of spectrum in the 2.1GHz band, which expires in 2027.The country’s planned auction of spectrum for 5G services was pushed back to 2018 because of legal limitations in compensating a state enterprise for returning spectrum and the transition to new telecoms commissioners.In December 2016 the NBTC said it would auction off 80MHz in the 2.6GHz band, which is owned but unused by state-owned public broadcaster MCOT, by June to prepare for the eventual rollout of 5G services in 2020. Previous ArticleUse cases driving LPWA choice for US playersNext ArticleSamsung reports record orders for latest Note device Dtac accelerates 700MHz network rollout Handset sales drive dtac revenue growth Author Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he… Read more center_img Related Asia Home Thailand to auction dtac 4G spectrum in January NBTC mulls payment relief for 5G licences Tags DTACNBTCspectrumThailandlast_img read more

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Health insurers just say no to marijuana coverage

first_imgPatients who use medical marijuana for pain and other chronic symptoms can take an unwanted hit: Insurers don’t cover the treatment, which costs as much as $1,000 a month.Once the drug of choice for hippies and rebellious teens, marijuana in recent years has gained more mainstream acceptance for its ability to boost appetite, dull pain and reduce seizures in everyone from epilepsy to cancer patients.Still, insurers are reluctant to cover it, in part because of conflicting laws. While 21 U.S. states have passed laws approving it for medical use, the drug still is illegal federally and in most states.But perhaps the biggest hurdle for insurers is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it. Major insurers generally don’t cover treatments that are not approved by the FDA, and that approval depends on big clinical studies that measure safety, effectiveness and side effects.That research can take years and millions of dollars. And while the FDA has approved treatments like Marinol that contain a synthetic version of an ingredient in marijuana, so far, no one has gained approval for a treatment that uses the whole plant.As a result of the obstacles, advocates for medicinal marijuana say insurers likely won’t cover the drug in the next few years. In the meantime, medical marijuana users — of which advocates estimate there are more than 1 million nationwide — have to find other ways to pay for their treatment.Bill Britt, for instance, gets his supply for free from a friend whom he helps to grow the plants. Britt lives mostly on Social Security income and uses marijuana every day for epileptic seizures and leg pain from a childhood case of polio.“I’m just lucky I have somebody who is helping me out, but that could go away at any time,” said Britt, 55, who lives in Long Beach, California. “I am always worried about that.”Insurers have not seen enough evidence that marijuana is safe and more effective than other treatments, said Susan Pisano, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group.Marijuana’s Schedule I classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act makes it difficult to conduct clinical studies that might provide that evidence. The classification means the drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. And that means extra precautions are required in order to study it.Researchers have to apply to the FDA to approve their study. Public Health Service, another arm of the Department of Health and Human Services, also may review it, a process that can take months.The Drug Enforcement Administration has to issue a permit after making sure researchers have a secure place to store the drug. Researchers also have to explain the study plan to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, another agency within Health and Human Services.And researchers have to use marijuana supplied by NIDA, which contracts with the University of Mississippi to grow the only federally sanctioned source of the drug. That can limit the options for strains of marijuana researchers can study.On top of that, researchers must find a location where the marijuana can be smoked or vaporized and scientists can monitor the patients afterward. That’s no easy task, especially when dealing with public universities.“The word ‘marijuana’ is just so politically radioactive,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, a University of Arizona psychiatrist who is trying to study the drug as a possible treatment for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.The American Medical Association has called for a change in marijuana’s classification to one that makes it easier for research to be conducted. The current classification prevents physicians from even prescribing it in states where medical use is permitted. Instead, they can only recommend it to patients.There is no easy and cheap way to get the drug legally. Patients in states where medical marijuana is legal can either grow it or buy it from government-approved dispensaries.At dispensaries, an eighth of an ounce, which produces three to seven joints, costs between $25 and $60, said Mike Liszewski, policy director for Americans for Safe Access, which advocates for safe and legal access to therapeutic cannabis. He noted that such an amount may not last long for patients who use the drug regularly to control pain or before every meal to help their appetites. Those patients might spend $1,000 a month or more.Patients may get a price break from their dispensary if they have a low income, but that depends on the dispensary.Growing marijuana costs less but takes three or four months. And success depends on a number of factors, including the grower’s skill. And there are other problems: Britt, from Long Beach, California, tried growing it in his backyard only to have thieves steal it.Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the nonprofit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, thinks insurers may eventually cover vaporized or eaten forms of marijuana. But he says when that happens depends, in part, on factors like who wins the 2016 presidential election.Even if the FDA approves medicinal marijuana, there’s no guarantee that insurance coverage will become widespread. Big companies that pay medical bills for their workers and dependents decide what items their insurance plans cover. They may not be eager to add the expense.Meanwhile, patients like Kari Boiter, 33, continue to get medical marijuana however they can. Boiter has a genetic disorder that causes pain, nausea and vomiting, and she uses marijuana she helps grow in a cooperative garden to control the symptoms.Boiter, who lives in Tacoma, Washington, and is unemployed, said she’d have to go back to largely ineffective prescriptions, or do without treatment if the cooperative went away.“It would be really hard for me,” she said.Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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