Full 1800MHz bandwidth not available at auction, regulator admits

7 Sep 2015

The full amount of 4G 1800MHz spectrum promised for auction this November is unlikely to be available, Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has admitted. The Bangkok Post quotes NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith as saying that the regulator ‘will have to auction only two licences of 25MHz of bandwidth, with each licence of 12.5MHz, instead of two licences of 15MHz each.’ Mr Takorn explained that the approved auction plan to include an additional 5MHz of spectrum currently allocated to Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) requires amendments to DTAC’s build-transfer-operate (BTO) mobile concession issued by state-owned CAT Telecom, which will take several months to complete before being submitted to the Thai cabinet for approval. The concession amendment is necessary in order to comply with the Public-Private Joint Venture Act. The Post’s report adds that Sanpachai Huvanandana, acting president of CAT Telecom, admitted he learned only last week that the return of the 5MHz would need concession amendments. DTAC nominally holds 50MHz of 1800MHz bandwidth under the 2G BTO concession with CAT, due to expire in 2018, although it only uses 25MHz; the 5MHz portion is part of the unused 25MHz.