NT to reveal 5G investment plan by end-2021; mulling return of 700MHz spectrum

29 Sep 2021

National Telecom (NT), which was formed by the merger of TOT and CAT Telecom in Q1 2021, is expected to reveal its 5G investment plan by the end of this year, with the return of 5G-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz band – secured in February 2020 for THB34.3 billion (USD1.01 billion) – emerging as one of the potential options to be considered by the company, The Bangkok Post writes. However, Sutisak Tantayotin, deputy secretary-general of the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), stressed that existing NBTC regulations do not allow licensees to return spectrum to the regulator without consequences. The executive highlighted that if a new auction is held and the winning price is less than that of the previous auction, NT would be charged the price difference.

NT is currently said to be in talks with Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move H Universal Communication over a proposed partnership for utilising NT’s 700MHz airwaves, though the talks have not yet reached the final stage. Further, unnamed sources on the NT board said that a feasibility proposal by NT’s management for the 5G business ‘remains unconvincing in the eyes of the board’, as it involves around THB30 billion in capital expenditure and THB50 billion in operating expenses.