Thai operators AIS and dtac applied to participate in a programme extending their 900MHz licence payment terms, but seemed reticent regarding a future auction of 700MHz spectrum.

The operators followed True Move by filing requests with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to extend the payments over ten annual instalments, a move granted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last month after using a special power available under the interim constitution.

But the new payment terms included a clause requiring operators to participate in a long-delayed 700MHz auction.

Market leader AIS said in a stock market filing it reserves the right to withdraw from participation in the auction after considering the terms of the 700MHz spectrum allocation, while third ranked dtac said its involvement “depends on the conditions to be determined by the NBTC”.

Both acknowledged that if they opt not to participate in the 700MHz sale, they will continue paying the 900MHz licence fees according to the original payment plan schedule (four instalments).

The operators had 30 days to inform the government of their interest in the new payment conditions. The executive order was made on 11 April.

Multiple delays
True Move previously indicated it does not plan to take part in the sale as it has sufficient low-band frequency the 850MHz and 900MHz bands.

NBTC has delayed the planned 700MHz auction multiple times due to a lack of interest from operators.