True Move, the second-largest operator in Thailand, announced it doesn’t plan to participate in a 700MHz spectrum auction scheduled to take place later in the year.
In a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the operator said its “main focus is on continued revenue and margin growth as well as cash flow improvement”.
It said it has sufficient low-band frequency at 850MHz and 900MHz which can be reallocated for 5G services, adding its investment in the next generation technology will use existing bandwidth in specific areas where the company expects good return on investment due to significant demand and readiness of compatible devices.
The company also said in the filing it is awaiting clarity on the government easing the payment terms for 900MHz licences.
Thailand’s regulator said in October 2018 it was considering extending licence payment terms for future sales from three years to between eight and ten years to reduce the financial burden on the winners.
True and market leader AIS have pushed the government for extensions on their 900MHz licences. Under a plan submitted by the regulator, but later dropped, the country’s prime minister considered using executive order to give the operators five-year extensions.
The operator’s announcement comes two days after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) approved draft conditions for a 700MHz sale, which extends the payment terms to ten years.
In early December 2018 the regulator announced it was delaying the 700MHz sale until the third quarter of 2019 as the band won’t be freed up until 2020.
Seven 5MHz-blocks of spectrum in the band will be sold. The 700MHz licences have a 20-year term and the winning bidders are required to pay 20 per cent of the final price in the first year, Bangkok Post reported.
A public hearing is expected to be held in February.