Dtac can't use 1800-MHz spectrum for 4G

Dylan Bushell-Embling
25 Sep 2013

Thai regulator NBTC has rejected a proposal by mobile operator Dtac to deploy a 4G network on the 1800-MHz spectrum it holds as part of its existing concession deal with state-owned CAT.

The NBTC has stated that Dtac will have to seek permission from CAT if it wants to deploy LTE over the frequency band, Bangkok Postreported.

Dtac currently has access to 50 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum under a 2G concession agreement with CAT, which is valid until 2018. But the company is only making use of 25 MHz.

With Thai operators eager to deploy LTE, Dtac had proposed two options for providing 4G services, the first involving utilizing the unused 25 MHz of spectrum for LTE.

But NBTC vice-chairman Colonel Settapong Malisuwan told the Post that Dtac will need to work out an agreement to amend the existing concession arrangement before it can be allowed to operate 4G, and that the regulator has no authority to intervene.

Dtac could expose itself to legal action if it attempts to push on with using the 1800-MHz spectrum for 4G without negotiating an amended concession deal.

The alternative option proposed by Dtac involves returning the unused spectrum to the NBTC to be reauctioned for 4G use.

CAT and the nation's ICT ministry have insisted that Dtac instead hand the spectrum back to CAT for the state-owned operator's own mobile services, but Dtac has so far refused.

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