NBTC telecom panel bends with fresh submission date for spectrum bid applications

Economy June 20, 2018 01:00

By SIRIVISH TOOMGUM
THE NATION

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THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) subcommittee on telecom affairs has resolved to keep the auction process alive for licences on the 1800MHz spectrum with a fresh date for the submission of applications.



Telecommunications operators opted to stay out of the auction, when the regulator failed to receive any bid applications on the designated date of June 15. Now, the NBTC subcommittee will accept bid applications next month in an effort to keep the auction on track for the original schedule of August 4.

The subcommittee also resolved that the watchdog will auction a licence on a 900MHz band totalling 5MHz on August 10.

Earlier, the mobile operators seen as the most likely bidders for the three licences of 1800MHz spectrum said they already had enough bandwidth and some of the operators said the auction rules did not favour their participation in the bidding. Under the new schedule for the 1800MHZ auction, the prospective bidders can ask for bid documents from June 26 to July 25. The bid submission date is July 26. The NBTC will examine their qualifications from July 26 to 30. The auction date remains unchanged at August 4.

However, NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasith said yesterday that the regulator had declined to change the auction rules and the licence starting bid price of Bt37.457 billion per licence. For the 900MHz licence, the prospective bidders can pick up the bid documents from June 29 to July 30, with July 31 for bid submissions. The starting bid price for the licence is Bt38 billion.

Earlier, the NBTC declined to put the 900MHz licence in auction.

Takorn said the NBTC would present all the details to NBTC board consideration on June 25.

The 1800MHz and 900MHz bands that the NBTC will put up for auctions belong to CAT Telecom, which has granted to Total Access Communication (DTAC) the right to operate under its concession. The concession will expire on September 15.

The NBTC will rush to send a letter to DTAC urging it to hurry in migrating its existing 430,000 subscribers on this concession to other networks before the concession ends.

Takorn said that if still no one enters the bidding for the 1800MHz licences and the 900MHz licence, the NBTC will have to draw up new auction rules for both bands. This might take a year to finish, he said.