Thai regulator NBTC has extended the date when True Move and AIS subsidiary DPC are to shut down their 2G networks for a further six months to give customers more time to migrate.
The mobile operators will now have to continue to operate 2G until next January, the time when the licenses for the first of two planned 4G auctions will be allocated, the Bangkok Postsaid.
Both DPC and True Move had been operating the networks based on the old build-operate-transfer concession model, but these concessions expired in September 2013.
But the NBTC required the operators to continue operating the networks until their 2G customers had migrated to avoid leaving customers without mobile service.
True Move has around 700,000 remaining customers on its 1800-MHz 2G network, down from 17 million shortly after the concession expired. DPC meanwhile has just 1,000 2G users left.
If any customers remain after the 4G licenses are allocated, the 2G signals will be cut off immediately, according to the regulator.
This marks the second time the cut-off date for subscribers to migrate to new services has been extended. True Move and DPC will have to refund any unused call credit as part of the migration.
Earlier this week, the NBTC's telecom committee approved a plan to implement a 60MHz spectrum cap http://www.telecomasia.net/content/thailand-approves-60mhz-spectrum-cap as a condition of participating in the upcoming LTE auctions.
Thailand plans to hold two LTE auctions, one for 1,800-MHz spectrum in November and a second for 900-MHz spectrum the following month.