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NBTC chairman stalls Takorn’s resignation

The chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has put the brakes on the resignation tendered by secretary-general Takorn Tantasith, saying he is needed to run the organisation during these bleak times, says a source at the agency who requested anonymity.

Mr Takorn submitted his resignation letter to NBTC chairman Sukit Khamasundara on Feb 18, indicating that he wanted to step down on May 18, four months before his term ends. The submission came two days after the momentous 5G spectrum licence auction.

The source on the NBTC board told the Bangkok Post that Gen Sukit recently responded to Mr Takorn’s resignation by saying he disagreed with it.

The NBTC chairman said Mr Takorn should work until his term expires on Sept 10, as the office needs an active head to proceed with policymaking and routine management during this difficult time, the source said.

Mr Takorn’s resignation letter stated that he wanted to step down after seven years, a stint that included ironing out necessary regulations governing the broadcasting and telecom sectors and overseeing the 5G spectrum auction.

Mr Takorn said he received a reply from Gen Sukit and plans to respond to the chairman soon. He did not discuss what his reply would entail.

He said the chairman can halt a resignation for a few months until an agreement can be reached.

Mr Takorn wanted to step down in May to travel to the US to attend his son’s graduation ceremony for a master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University.

“Previously I planned to spend one or two months taking a rest and travelling abroad with my family before deciding what I should do next,” he said.

Another NBTC source said Mr Takorn was preparing to become a candidate for the NBTC board, with the government restarting the recruitment process in the near future.

Up to the task
Chakkrit Urairat, deputy director for regulatory relations at True Corporation, a telecom operator, said the NBTC secretary-general position requires someone with the capability to deal with a wide range of tough issues and challenges.

Although the NBTC is an independent agency, it requires cordial cooperation from outsiders, especially the government.

“Without an active secretary-general, it could trigger turmoil and unexpected difficulties in operations,” Mr Chakkrit said.

He said many existing telecom regulations are impractical and need amendment to comply with the latest technology.

“The 5G licence auction is not an endgame for development,” he said. “In contrast, the industry still has to come across innovative products and development and challenges.”

Mr Takorn has the competence to solve conflicts and problems, such as those in connection with the past 3G, 4G and 5G auctions, Mr Chakkrit said.

Pisut Ngamvijitvong, a senior analyst at Kasikorn Securities (KS), said Mr Takorn is a good model as a state officer who pushed critical agendas and accomplished them on time.

Korkij Danchaivichit, chief executive of Thailand Post, said Mr Takorn is an outstanding figure who accomplished tasks using cooperation from outsiders.

Mr Takorn does not wait for full support for tasks, but rather tackles them head-on until they are implemented, Mr Korkij said.

5G auction
Mr Takorn said the NBTC held the 5G auction on Feb 16 to ensure the country’s competitive advantage over neighbouring countries and to turn the country into a 5G mover in Asia-Pacific.

“If the NBTC had delayed the auction by just another two weeks, the auction wouldn’t have been held and there is no telling when it would occur,” Mr Takorn said, referring to the outbreak that halted public activities.

Several countries that planned to hold 5G auctions this year have postponed the bidding indefinitely.

“Before the Feb 16 auction, the NBTC faced several critical challenges, but finally pressed ahead with the event according to the timeline,” Mr Takorn said. Bangkok Post

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