BROADBAND & TELEVISION
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) may use "package bidding" for expiring mobile concessions running on the 1800- and 900-megahertz spectra.
Package bidding, a common practice internationally, allows bidders to make a single bid for a group of frequencies or licences.
"Such a move would be aimed at encouraging fair competition among multiple bidders," said Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee.
On Sept 15, the concessions for True Move, a unit of True Corporation, and Digital Phone Co (DPC), a unit of Advanced Info Service (AIS), will expire under agreements with the state-owned CAT Telecom, using 25 MHz of the 1800-MHz spectrum.
In September 2015, AIS's concession under its agreement with TOT Plc using 17.5 MHz of the 900-MHz spectrum will also expire.
True Move and DPC have a combined 17 million subscribers for second-generation (2G) service on the 1800-MHz spectrum. AIS has 36 million subscribers on the 900-MHz spectrum.
Col Settapong said the NBTC could pack the 25 MHz on the 1800-MHz spectrum with the 17.5 MHz on the 900-MHz spectrum for simultaneous auction.
The 1800-MHz and 900-MHz frequencies could be further upgraded to 4G.
The NBTC has initially said an auction for the 1800-MHz will be held in next year's third quarter.
Col Settapong said simultaneous package bidding is necessary now that AIS's concession is nearing expiry.
The NBTC is preparing measures to deal with possible service disruptions for the estimated 17 million subscribers of True Move and DPC once their concessions expire.
Under the NBTC's master plan for frequency management, concession holders must return spectra to the watchdog after their concessions expire.
The regulator will reallocate the spectra for maximum public benefit.
Col Settapong said package bidding would still see slots of both frequencies capped for each bidder for maximum benefit to the government and to encourage fair competition.
The telecom committee yesterday approved setting up a one-year subcommittee overseeing frequency reallocation for the 1800-MHz spectrum.
It also endorsed a study conducted by another NBTC panel regarding the 1800-MHz frequency reallocation.
The study suggested CAT either service the 2G customers of True Move and DPC itself or find a private operator to do so on its behalf.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter