THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will wait for either of the two bid winners of 1800MHz spectrum lots to pay the first instalment of the licence fee upfront before considering whether to grant consumer protection measures to 1800MHz customers of Total Access Communication (dtac).
The NBTC telecommunications subcommittee yesterday announced its position on dtac's request for a remedy period to be applied for the benefit of its 1800MHz and 850MHz customers following the expiry of concessions on its two spectra on September 15.
The remedy period refers to the duration the NBTC would allow telecom operators to continue using existing spectra to offer services on an interim basis after their concession ends. This is to give them time to migrate all customers to other networks.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said yesterday that only after one of the two bid winners paid the initial fee would the regulator consider granting the remedy period to dtac.
In principle, if neither of the bid winners pays the first instalment after the concession ends, the NBTC would automatically grant the remedy period to dtac's 1800MHz customers.
The protection would cover its entire 25MHz of 1800MHz.
The NBTC divided dtac's 1800MHz spectrum into nine lots, each containing 5MHz, and auctioned them on August 19. dtac subsidiary dtac TriNet and Advanced Info Service subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) each clinched one lot from the auction. Therefore, dtac has requested the NBTC remedy period for the remaining 15MHz of the 1800MHz.
The auction rules require the bid winners to pay the first instalment within 90 days of them being named as winners.
dtac has also asked for a review of the NBTC’s decision to reject its request for a remedy period for its 850MHz customers. In this case, Takorn said that dtac would have to write to NBTC with clear reasons for the review.
Then, the NBTC office would collect all related information, including the number of dtac’s existing customers on its concession for the NBTC telecom subcommittee's consideration on September 4. The panel would forward its conclusion to the NBTC board on September 5.
In a separate matter, Takorn said that on Tuesday the NBTC had met with the representatives of the digital TV licence holders to seek a long-term solution for the industry, with many of the licence holders struggling to survive amid the fierce competition.
The broadcasters proposed that the government should subsidise the entire monthly fees they have paid to the network providers to rent their broadcasting networks.
The NBTC has already subsidised the broadcasting network rental fee to all digital TV licence holders by 50 per cent of the fee for two years, effective from May 23, in line with a recent order by the junta.
In addition, they also proposed that once the NBTC auctions the 700MHz, it should use the upfront fees gained from the auction to cover all their remaining upfront fees they have paid to the NBTC for their TV licences.
The NBTC plans to migrate all digital TV licence holders, which currently use 700MHz, to operate on 400MHz in the future.