Thailand 4G watch: spectrum cap lowered

08 Apr 2015

In the latest round of news, Thailand’s regulator has set the spectrum cap for the upcoming 4G auction at 45 MHz, a smidgen down from the 50 MHz previously floated. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit however noted that the spectrum cap would apply only for spectrum currently in use and that was not expiring within the next five years.

The date for two blocks of 12.5 MHz each of 1800-MHz is set for 11 November. Two blocks of 10 MHz each of 900-MHz will be held on 15 December.

Currently five companies are in the running for the four slots up on the table. Incumbents AIS, Dtac and TrueMove as well as state-owned CAT Telecom and newcomer Jasmine, more well known for its fixed-line broadband business under the 3BB brand.

Takorn said that the reserve price would be set at 70% of the ITU-estimated reserve price of $20.1 billion (65.3 billion baht) there are more bidders than slots, which would seem to be the case with Jasmine taking part.

However, Takorn seemingly dismissed Dtac’s offer to return and defragment its 1800 MHz holdings.

Currently the 1800-MHz spectrum is fragmented with 12.5 MHz held by True, 25 MHz by Dtac, 12.5 MHz by DPC (AIS) and another 25 MHz by Dtac (which CAT claims). Dtac wants to move down to bottom of the 1800-MHz band so that the rest can be auctioned off in standard 10-MHz slots and not lead to immense waste of the 2.5 MHz parts in each licence.

Takorn said that a sub-committee would be set up to look at Dtac’s early return of spectrum and that any such spectrum would be auctioned in 2016.

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