Thai PM steps in to keep 4G auctions on track

Thai PM steps in to keep 4G auctions on track

09 NOV 2015

Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chanocha sent a clear message to the country’s two state-owned operators that the government won’t tolerate any attempt to postpone the long-delayed 4G auctions.

“Any legal action against the auctions will be considered illegal,” he said on Friday.

CAT Telecom last week threatened to file an injunction to halt the 1.8GHz auction unless it is given 20MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum to run a 4G network. Meanwhile, TOT’s labour union filed a lawsuit last Wednesday to stop the 900MHz auction.

The prime minister said the state-run enterprises are not as independent as they were in the past and all their revenues must be returned to the state’s coffers, Thai PBS reported.

The 4G auctions, which have been delayed by more than a year since the military coup in May 2014, will include the sale of 30MHz in the 1.8GHz band (two 15MHz blocks) on 11 November and 20MHz of 900MHz spectrum (two blocks) on December 15. The auctions are expected to raise more than $2 billion for the government.

After years of negotiations, CAT agreed in May to allow dtac to return 5MHz of unused 1.8GHz spectrum for the auction, which the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) approved last month. But CAT has now threatened to take back the 5GHz.

TOT’s action comes despite ICT Minister Uttama Savanayana saying last month that TOT would not file a lawsuit to try to stop the 900MHz auction after the state-owned firm selected the country’s leading operator AIS as its partner to launch mobile services on the 2.1GHz (3G) and 2.3GHz (4G) bands.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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