Members appointed to NBTC sub-panel tasked with drawing up auction plan
The telecom committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has appointed members to the subcommittee tasked with drawing up the plan to auction the 1,800MHz spectrum.The subcommittee will work out optional models for the auction, an information memorandum, the number of licences, the minimum spectrum price and licensing methods, telecom committee chairman Settapong Malisuwan said yesterday.
The NBTC committee has also set up a working panel to draw up measures to mitigate the effects on TrueMove and Digital Phone Co (DPC) customers impacted by the expiration of the two companies' concessions this coming September 15.
The panel will define within the next three months who will be assigned to take care of the companies' customers during the one-year transition period after the concessions expire.
The committee refers to Article 47 of the Constitution and the 2010 Frequency Allocation Act in setting the transitional period to protect consumers.
The charter article states that spectrum allocation by the NBTC must be based on the public's maximum interest.
The committee insists the transitional period does not amount to an extension of the companies' concession terms, nor will a spectrum licence be issued to the company that will be assigned to take care of TrueMove and DPC customers during the period, Settapong said.
The key goal is to prevent service disruption, and the assigned company will be prohibited from acquiring new customers and must support the TrueMove-DPC customers in switching to other networks.
Importantly, the assigned company will have to collect a service fee at the same rate as TrueMove and DPC, and provide the same service quality, he added.
The NBTC will reclaim the 1,800MHz bands from TrueMove and DPC for auction, which is now expected to take place late next year.
This is a postponement from its prior intention to auction the spectrum this October, due to the ongoing legal review of certain issues and the continued attempt by CAT Telecom to retain the 1,800MHz spectrum.
CAT is using all possible means to keep the spectrum it granted to TrueMove and DPC to provide cellular service. In defending its claim to the spectrum, CAT has cited the need to continue serving those customers who do not switch to other networks after the concessions expire.
The state agency expects that about 10 million of TrueMove's customer base of 18 million users will not move to other networks after September.
CAT also cites the need to serve the government's plan to promote equal wireless access nationwide.