Thai telecoms regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has scheduled the auction of the 45MHz block of 1800MHz spectrum currently used by Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) for July 2018 – two months before the concession is due to expire. Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, says the reserve price for the 1800MHz auction will be THB3 billion (USD86.5 million) per MHz, or THB45 billion for each 15MHz block, meaning that it will generate at least THB135 billion in total. The official noted that the reserve price for the 2018 auction is based on the winning prices paid in 2015’s 1800MHz auction, adjusted for inflation. Mr Takorn commented: ‘An early auction should take place in order to ensure a smooth transition from concessions to a new licensing regime and maintain service continuity for customers. The winning prices of the 2018 auction must not be lower than last year’s auctions’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2015 the NBTC auctioned off two 1800MHz licences, each comprising 2×15MHz of spectrum. Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Corp won the two 18-year concessions for a combined price of THB80.78 billion. AIS bid THB40.99 billion for ‘Licence 2’ (1725MHz-1740MHz / 1820MHz-1835MHz) while True paid THB39.79 billion for ‘Licence 1’ (1710MHz-1725MHz / 1805MHz-1820MHz), far exceeding the reserve bid price of THB15.91 billion. A third bidder, Jas Mobile Broadband (owned by Thai fixed network operator Triple T Broadband’s parent Jasmine International) pushed the prices upwards, eventually being outbid by the two established Thai cellcos after placing its final offer of THB39.00 billion. Fourth bidder DTAC dropped out of the auction earlier with its last bid of THB17.50 billion.