The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) yesterday set Oct 15-20 as the auction dates for third-generation (3G) licences on 2100 megahertz.
The watchdog endorsed the resolution from a public hearing to limit the bandwidth purchase in the 3G licence auction to 15 MHz from 20 MHz.
The auction will be an ascending-bid type, with each participant allowed to buy no more than 15 MHz.
On July 20, the NBTC held the first public hearing on the draft of the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum licensing terms and conditions.
The hearing agreed to limit the spectrum each operator can purchase to encourage competition.
However, the reserve price for a 5-MHz block of 3G mobile spectrum remains unchanged at 4.5 billion baht.
Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee, said the committee believes the reduction of bandwidth purchase will not lead to collusion among the existing big three mobile operators.
"Too high a reserved price will affect the tariff later charged by mobile operators, and 4.5 billion baht is not the lowest reserved price compared to other countries," he said.
Under the current draft, the auction will offer nine slots of the spectrum, each containing 5 MHz of bandwidth.
Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC's secretary-general, said the board approved the 3G information memorandum by a majority of eight committee members, while two disagreed.
The minority committee members wanted to raise the reserved price to 6 billion baht from 4.5 billion.
A telecom veteran said only three incumbent mobile operators _ Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication and True Move _ will join the auction.
Previously, True had opposed the auction condition that allows participating firms to bid for up to 20 MHz of bandwidth out of the total 45 MHz, while the AIS chairman also insisted 15 MHz of bandwidth is enough to service 3G under technical support, giving room to small bidders.
NBTC expects the 3G information memorandum will be published in the Royal Gazette this month.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter