Thailand’s telecoms regulator has officially met to hammer out the rules for the reauction of 900-MHz spectrum that Jasmine won in December but failed to pay the $2.14 billion (75.65 billion baht) bid price.
The new auction will be held on June 24 and start at Jas’ winning bid of 75.65 million baht (and not the last price all the telcos bid on of 70 billion). The increment will be 4.3 million (152 million baht) per round.
The deposit has been raised from 5% of the initial bid to 20% with the extra deposit explicitly labeled as a damage deposit in case of default.
The 5-member telecom board voted 3:2 against allowing the other 900-MHz winner TrueMove to participate in the re-auction. Previously NBTC Secretary General Takorn Tantasit has said that True would be included, prompting Dtac to complain strenuously.
Meanwhile, AIS has sent a letter to the NBTC expressing interest in paying Jas’ winning bid of 75.65 billion baht in a “couple of months” after it gets shareholder permission and has asked the NBTC for permission to continue using the 900-MHz for 2G in the meantime. AIS existing 900-MHz concession is scheduled to be switched off on 14 April.
AIS’ letter also called on the NBTC to take measures to solve the interference problem with Dtac’s 850-MHz band.
In the December auction, AIS was not interested in the lower band that was won by Jasmine, but the upper band that was won by TrueMove because of the potential for interference.
The regulator responded by saying that such a move was beyond its authority and would require the junta leader and Prime Minister General Prayut Chanocha to use article 44, the absolute power clause, in the interim constitution.
The government lawyer, the Council of State, has declined to comment on the legality of such a move and has deferred to the Prime Minister and junta leader.
Prayut has indicated he may be willing to use his absolute power clause for AIS, saying it was not there only to punish bad people.