Thailand’s telecoms regulator said it will now reconsider dtac’s offer to return 5MHz of unused 1.8GHz spectrum for the 4G auctions at the end of the year, following an earlier rejection.
But the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said the return must come without conditions or compensation and needs to be completed by the auction’s public hearing scheduled for 17 July, the Bangkok Post reported.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith noted that adding the additional spectrum would not be complicated and wouldn’t delay the auctions. The Post quoted him as saying that “having an additional 5MHz of 1.8GHz bandwidth would allow a contiguous spectrum that will eliminate inefficiency and waste inherent in block sizes”.
Dtac executive VP Chaiyod Chirabowornkul told Mobile World Live that it does not require compensation for the 5MHz of 1.8GHz bandwidth. “However, we will need to reshuffle the spectrum to let it become continuous 30MHz. This requires some fieldwork and as such depends on if NBTC can have the clearance of TrueMove and DPC [AIS subsidiary] for their slots to be reshuffled.”
He said dtac believes blocks of 5 or 10MHz are better suited for the auction.
A month ago the NBTC rejected an agreement between state-owned CAT Telecom and dtac for the latter to return the unused spectrum, stating it wanted to avoid delaying the auctions.
After years of negotiations, CAT agreed in May to allow dtac to return the unused 4G spectrum to NBTC.
Dtac’s offer came after the so-called NBTC superboard (a special committee set up to evaluate the performance of the regulator) called for the auctions to be delayed since operators have complained they each need at least 20MHz to offer 4G service effectively.
The country’s long-awaited 4G auctions, delayed by more than a year since the military coup a year ago, are planned for November and December. Two slots of 12.5MHz in the 1.8GHz band are scheduled to be sold off. The return of the 5MHz would increase the amount to 30MHz, which could be divided into two 15MHz blocks to better maximise use of the airwaves.