The Central Administrative Court on Friday issued an order to grant an interim protection measure to 850MHz customers of Total Access Communication (DTAC), allowing them to continue to use the spectrum until December 15.
DTAC sought the court order for the interim protection of its 850MHz customers on September 6, following the refusal of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to allow it to continue using the service after the company's 850MHz and 1800MHz concessions end on September 15. The watchdog said there is no justification for DTAC's customers to be permitted to enter the remedy period.
The court order means DTAC 850MHZ customers can enter the remedy period. The remedy is an interim duration the NBTC will grant to the telecom operators to continue providing the service after the concession ends to give more time to migrating customers to find other networks.
DTAC's concession has around 90,000 users of the 850MHz service, of which around 60,000 are people and the rest are machines.
The court cited that the primary objective of the NBTC remedy period rules is aimed to mitigate the impact on consumers, who fail to move to other networks after the concession ends.
Therefore, the NBTC cannot deny granting the remedy period to DTAC by citing the reason that no company was bidding for the 900MHz licence.
The NBTC in July declined to grant the remedy period to DTAC, citing that DTAC did not take part in the bid for this 900MHz. The NBTC put the 900MHz in an auction in August but no company submitted a bid.
The court added that if DTAC fails to continue the 850MHz after the concession ends, customers could suffer.
Moreover, the court's order does not affect the NBTC plan to re-auction the 900MHz as the protection is on an interim period.
DTAC chief executive officer Alexandra Reich said: “Today’s verdict is fantastic for customers. It grants them continued coverage during the network transition. During this period, we will continue working very hard to keep migrating remaining customers using older Sims under concession with CAT Telecom,.”
NBTC on Friday said it has acknowledged the court ruling.