The rules for awarding the 700MHz spectrum licences were published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will put up for sale three 700MHz spectrum slots, each priced at Bt17.584 billion. Each slot will have a 10MHz bandwidth. The licence term will be 15 years and the payments can be divided into 10 instalments.
The sale of the three slots is related to the junta’s recent approval of relief measures to ease the financial burden of Thailand’s three 900MHz telecom operators, Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (DTAC), and True Corp.
Under the relief measures, the NBTC will split the total upfront 900MHz spectrum licence fee to be paid by each of the three licence holders into 10 instalments, up from the current four instalments, giving each provider more time to make payments.
However, the junta’s relief measures also included a condition that makes it mandatory for any 900MHz licence holder taking the relief measures to also purchase a slot for the NBTC’s 700MHz spectrum.
The licence holders are allowed to sign for the relief measures by informing the NBTC and then later opt not to buy the 700MHz licence slots. In that event, however, they would lose the option to spread their 900MHz payments over a longer period and pay as per the original schedule.
All three operators have informed the NBTC of their interest to take the junta’s relief measures, but first want to see the terms and conditions of the 700MHz licence sales prior to making a final decision on purchasing licences for that spectrum.