NBTC approves 1800MHz plan

5 Aug 2013

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has approved a plan to auction 1800MHz band spectrum for 4G mobile broadband services in September 2014, with licence winners to be officially announced in October and concessions to be issued in ‘early November’, the Bangkok Post reports. A 25MHz block in the 1800MHz band is currently used by True Corp’s 2G mobile division True Move and Digital Phone Co, a unit of Advanced Info Service, under build-transfer-operate (BTO) agreements with state-owned CAT Telecom which expire in September this year. The NBTC’s plan – opposed by CAT – is backed up by the Frequency Allocation Act which stipulates concession holders return spectrum to the regulator after expiry, for reallocation via auction. The NBTC has also drafted regulations to allow 2G services to continue uninterrupted in the interim year for existing 2G 1800MHz network users. According to the chairman of the NBTC’s telecom committee, Settapong Malisuwan, a consulting team studying the details of the 1800MHz spectrum auction will publish conclusions by February 2014; in the meantime the regulator plans to draft an information memorandum for the auction in December, with the finished version due in March 2014.