Thailand’s telecoms regulator has approved the return of 5MHz of unused 1.8GHz spectrum to be included in the 4G auction in November, according to a report in the Nation.
Following an earlier rejection, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said a month ago it was reconsidering dtac’s offer to return the spectrum, but only if it came without conditions and compensation. The spectrum is part of a concession with state-owned CAT Telecom that isn’t due to expire until 2018.
The return of the 5MHz will increase the amount of 1.8MHz spectrum to be auctioned off to 30MHz, which NBTC plans to split into two blocks of 15MHz. The 5MHz block is estimated to be worth at least THB5 billion ($148 million).
The approval comes just days after the ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprapa ordered state-owned CAT to drop its proposed agreement with dtac to return the spectrum, since CAT reportedly was asking for compensation for the return, which he said would delay the auctions.
The demand for compensation presumably has been dropped.
A dtac executive told Mobile World Live last month it would not require compensation. “However, we will need to reshuffle the spectrum to let it become continuous 30MHz. Dtac believes blocks of 5 or 10MHz are better suited for the auction,” said executive VP Chaiyod Chirabowornkul.
The country’s long-awaited 4G auctions, delayed by more than a year since the military coup last year, will also include the sale of 20MHz of 900MHz in December.
The NBTC said it will hold public hearings on its 1.8GHz auction plan from 18 July to 17 August. It set a reserve price for each of the 1.8MHz blocks at THB11.6 billion, the Nation reported.