NBTC board urged to leave auction decision to new team

Economy April 11, 2018 01:00

By   THE NATION

THE NATIONAL Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) office will propose to the agency’s board today that the task of considering the draft auction rules for 1800MHz licences be left to the incoming NBTC commissioners.



 Whether to approve the draft rules is among the agenda items for the NBTC board at a meeting today, said NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith. However, the proposal to take it off the table stems from the expectation that the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will select the new the NBTC commissioners on April 19.

 If the NLA succeeds in appointing the new commissioners on that date, the view behind the proposal for the current board to skip consideration of the draft auction rules is that this decision is best held over for the incoming commissioners.

NBTC commissioner Prawit Leesatapornwongsa said that it remains to be seen how the existing acting board can make a decision on the matter as the board members have mixed views. 

One group of board members wants to go ahead and approve the draft auction rules as the Council of State has replied to the NBTC that it can continue to perform regular duties under the new NBTC law. However, those in the other camp feel that it would be better to hand this responsibility to the incoming board.

The originally proposed auction rules provided for the sale of three licences of 1800MHz, each with 15MHz bandwidth. The amended version would see nine licences sold, each with 5MHz bandwidth.

Earlier the NBTC office said that it had planned to propose to the board today that the originally proposed auction rules for 1800MHz licences be applied, rather than the sale take place under an amended draft version.

On Monday DTAC made opinions to the NBTC that it has preferred to see the auction of nine licences each with 5MHz bandwidth.

According to DTAC letter to the NBTC, the proposed three licences of 2x15 MHz is not practical taking into account the different demands for spectrum of the potential bidders.

It added that a fixed 2x15 MHz block size would likely leave spectrum unsold in the auction. However, a 2x5 MHz block size would offer more flexibility for the bidders to buy the spectrum at the amount best serving their real demands based on their specific spectrum inventory, business plan and financial status, DTAC said.

Prawit believes that from this scenario, it appears that DTAC wants to bid for 20MHz bandwidth of 1800MHz as its two rivals, Advanced Info Service and True Corp, each had clinched 15MHz bandwidth of 1800MHz in the previous auction.

The 1800MHz spectrum, which the NBTC will put to auction, belongs to DTAC. The concession for this spectrum under CAT Telecom will end in the middle of September.