Thailand’s telecoms regulator is pushing ahead with the sale of 900MHz spectrum, modifying a key condition in an attempt to stoke operator interest after previously failing to do so.
The auction is scheduled for 20 October, with an 8 October deadline for the submission of bids. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has removed a condition requiring the winner to be responsible for preventing interference between the 900MHz band and spectrum due to be awarded to future railway projects, The Nation reported.
NBTC had to ditch a previous attempt to auction the spectrum after operators declined to take part.
The timings contained in the latest rules appear to be an attempt to force operator dtac to participate in the sale after Thailand’s Central Administrative Court last week granted the company a three month extension covering its use of the 850MHz band (a concession expired on 15 September). The date for submission of bids is seven days before a deadline for NBTC to appeal the decision.
Last week NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith explained the regulator was against granting an extension because dtac had the opportunity to acquire 900MHz spectrum in the prior auction.
The secretary-general is under pressure to sell-off the expired spectrum to generate revenue for the government, Bangkok Post reported.
In late August, market leader AIS and third-ranked dtac each acquired 10MHz of 1800MHZ spectrum for THB12.5 billion ($386 million), however the remaining seven blocks available went unsold.
It is unclear if NBTC’s amended 900MHz rules will succeed in bringing operators to the table. Second-placed True Move announced in June it would not participate in either auction because its existing 55MHz spectrum holding is sufficient for its current and future needs.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back