NBTC releases 4G auction details

20 Feb 2014

Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has revealed new details of its plan to auction additional 4G-suitable mobile licences, announcing a three-stage auction process to be implemented by September 2015, reports TelecomAsia. The NBTC said it will redistribute 92.5MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands previously issued to private sector cellcos under build-transfer-operate (BTO) concessions which expire over the next few years. The first planned auction is for 25MHz of 1800MHz spectrum previously used by True Move (part of True Corp) and DPC (part of AIS) in March 2014, followed by a November 2014 auction of 17.5MHz of 900MHz spectrum currently in use by AIS, and finally an auction of 50MHz of 1800MHz spectrum – currently partially being used by DTAC – in September 2015. All licences will be awarded on a technology-neutral basis. Winners will be allocated their spectrum once BTO concessions expire: for AIS’ 900MHz spectrum, this is March 2015, while DTAC’s concession is set to end at the beginning of 2018. The NBTC added that it had considered bundling all the spectrum into a package bidding model, but was dissuaded by potential legal challenges regarding the different expiry dates for BTO concessions. Operators will be able to participate in all three auctions, although the regulator plans to set individual caps on the spectrum.