NBTC reverses decision on 1800-MHz spectrum split

03 Apr 2018

Thai regulator NBTC has reversed a decision to split the 1800-MHz spectrum due to be reallocated in a spectrum auction into nine 10 MHz blocks.

The regulator plans to revert to the plan to instead auction the spectrum in three 30 MHz lots, the Bangkok Postreported.

The about face was motivated by complaints from operators that the decision to carve the spectrum into 10 MHz blocks would hurt their long term business strategies, and to bring the upcoming auction in line with the two previous 1800-MHz auctions in 2015.

Meanwhile JAS Mobile Broadband has been banned from participating in the planned auction after it defaulted on its first license payment in 2016.

The 1800-MHz spectrum due to be allocated in the auction is currently used by private operator Dtac as part of its old concession agreement with state-owned CAT Telecom. But this concession is set to expire at the end of September, before the auction is planned, potentially leaving Dtac without the required spectrum to maintain service continuity for customers.

Dtac has insisted that there will be no disruption, but the operator is facing a profit hit as a result of the decision. One option would require Dtac to operate using remedy measures, which would require it to transfer all earnings after expenses to the government as a result of being able to continue operating without a license for the required spectrum.

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