NBTC backs down on financial relief for AIS, True

10 Apr 2018

Thai telecoms regulator NBTC has backed down on its recommendation of providing financial relief for mobile operators AIS and TrueMove in the face of criticism from academia and the public sector.

The regulator will no longer support a plan to provide relief from the operators' 900-MHz license payment obligations, the Bangkok Postreported.

The ultimate decision will be down to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the government, but the NBTC will not oppose a plan that would ease the financial burden of digital TV operators but leave 900-MHz license winners out.

AIS and TrueMove both petitioned the NCPO in September requesting assistance in easing their license payment terms. The NBTC had drawn up a proposal to grant five year extensions for the payments of the final 900-MHz license payments, but the proposal was controversial.

TrueMove noted that the winning prices of the 2015 900-MHz spectrum auction were six times higher than the reserve price and the highest in APAC, and has warned that without financial relief the company will have limited capital for investment in services including 5G and the IoT. The company could also be hampered in its participation in the upcoming 1800-MHz auction.

AIS has likewise argued that relaxing the 900-MHz payment scheme would allow the company to invest in expanding and upgrading its mobile network, benefiting consumers.

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