Air on a 4G string: DTAC shares LTE frequency musings

13 Jun 2011

Thai cellco DTAC has aired a proposal to return an unused 25MHz block of 1800MHz band wireless spectrum to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) in exchange for a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) licence, to bypass the deadlock in the country’s 3G licensing plans. DTAC holds 50MHz in the 1800MHz band for voice services, plus 10MHz in the 850MHz range for data services. The Telenor subsidiary’s build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession is due to expire in 2018 whilst those of rivals True Move and AIS subsidiary DPC are due to expire at the end of 2013, at which point each must return 12.5MHz of 1800MHz spectrum to state-owned CAT, the issuer of the concessions. DTAC head Jon Eddy Abdullah said that DTAC’s proposal could help transform the sector from the BTO concession model to a full licensing framework, as the NBTC would be able to call an auction to issue 4G licences in the 1800MHz band by combining the total 50MHz of bandwidth returned by DTAC, True Move and DPC.