Thailand’s telecoms regulator announced plans to raise the reserve price of the 900MHz spectrum to be auctioned off in early November after academics and consumer groups complained that the base price was set too low.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said it will propose increasing the price to THB12.9 billion ($364 million), or 80 per cent of the estimated value, from THB11.3 billion (70 per cent of the expected value), the Bangkok Post reported.

The move comes shortly after the NBTC raised the reserve price of the 1.8GHz band 14 per cent to THB15.9 billion – also 80 per cent of the expected value.

The regulator is holding its last public hearings for the draft design for the 900MHz auction on 31 August. It has not set the exact date of that auction, which will sell two 10MHz blocks.

The NBTC has approved the final design for the 1.8GHz auction scheduled on November 11. Two 15MHz blocks will be offered, after the regulator approved the return of 5MHz from dtac (under a concession with state-owned CAT, which isn’t due to expire until 2018).

The winning bidders of the 1.8GHz licences, which are valid for 18 years, have eight years to cover half of the population, the Post said.

NBTC has also dropped its controversial 60MHz spectrum cap after the proposal faced strong criticism from some operators.