NBTC briefs PM on progress with spectrum sale 

Tech May 17, 2019 01:00

By   THE NATION

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THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has updated Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on the progress of its plan to sell slots of the 700MHz spectrum, the commission’s secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said.



He said that a public hearing on the NBTC’s draft plan for the 700 MHz spectrum allocation, to be held on May 22, would see a great number of people taking part in the event.

Takorn said that he is still confident that each of the three 900MHz telecoms operators would purchase a spectrum lot.

These operators are subsidiaries of Advanced Info Service, True Corp and Total Access Communication.

The NBTC will put on sale three 700MHz spectrum slots, each priced at Bt17.584 billion, according to the completed draft of the 700MHz spectrum allocation plan. Each slot will comprise bandwidth of 10MHz.

The licence term will be 15 years and the payment for it can be divided into 10 instalments.

The slots will be put on sale on June 19 and the proceeds will be used to compensate the six digital TV broadcasters that last week informed the NBTC of their intention to return their broadcasting licences.

The NBTC wants the telecom operators to provide 5G wireless broadband services on the 700MHz band.

The sales of the three slots are related to the junta’s launch of the relief measures last month to ease the financial burden of the three 900MHz telecom operators and the digital TV broadcasters.

However, the junta’s relief measures include a condition that makes it mandatory for any of 900MHz licence holders taking up the assistance to purchase the NBTC’s 700MHz spectrum slots.

The licence holders can inform the NBTC that they want to avail themselves of the junta’s relief measures but can later opt not to buy the 700MHz licence slots. 

However, by doing so, they would lose the longer instalment facility and would have to pay as per the original payment schedule.

The three 900MHz operators last week informed the NBTC of their interest to take up the relief measures, but said they wanted to see the terms and conditions of the 700MHz licence sales before making a final decision on whether to purchase these licences.

Takorn added that the NBTC has no power to force all three of them to buy the 700MHz spectrum lots if, in the end, there is only operator or even two operators that purchase the lots on June 19.

For the NBTC’s plan to compensate the six broadcasters that last week declared their intention to return the licences to the NBTC, Takorn said that the NBTC’s subcommittee looking into a compensation method has set a framework that requires the six to submit plans for how they would compensate their customers. The NBTC would assess these proposals.

They also have to propose plans dealing with how they would compensate those employees that would be laid off after the licences are returned. The terms should be more generous than those required by the labour law.

The operators also have to submit statements for their annual financial performance from the onset of the operations until April 11 this year.