Thailand 4G: CAT agrees to return half its old 2G spectrum

Don Sambandaraksa
telecomasia.net
Thailand’s state-owned CAT Telecom has announced it would be willing to return half of its 2G spectrum that will come to the end of concession in September 2013 to the regulator for re-allocation.
 
Just 12.5 MHz of 1800 MHz allocated to DPC, an AIS subsidiary, will be handed back. The network currently only has 80,000 subscribers. However, CAT said it wants to keep the rest (another 12.5 MHz) that was allocated to TrueMove’s 2G network.
 
Previously, CAT recalled 25 MHz from Dtac saying that the telco needed to prove it required that spectrum. Dtac’s concession ends in 2018 and its CEO has maintained that nobody else but Dtac can use that spectrum under the concession agreement.
 
However, the company also says it is willing to return the 25 MHz for re-allocation in a new bid under new licenses as operating it under the existing 30% revenue share concession would be impractical.
 
The regulator has said that all expiring spectrum must be returned to the regulator for re-allocation. However, CAT’s stance is backed by the ICT Minister who has argued that the state owned company should be given the spectrum so it can survive.
 
Elsewhere, the insubordination to the regulator is growing.
 
The NBTC first said that they would issue the 2.1 GHz 3G licenses only to the telcos who agreed to reduce their prices by 15 to 20%. Afterwards, the regulator unilaterally ordered the telcos to reduce their prices by 15%.
 
AIS CEO Vichien Mektrakarn was interviewed on a morning TV show saying that he would try and cooperate with the 15% order, but that it was too early to say, and that the company may end up applying to the administrative court to have the order overturned.

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