900MHz auction scheduled for Oct 20

900MHz auction scheduled for Oct 20

The second-round auction date for 900-megahertz licences is officially Oct 20 and comes with amended conditions to attract prospective bidders -- especially Total Access Communication (DTAC), which sat out the first-round auction.

Prospective bidders have to submit bid documents to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) by Oct 8, seven days before the telecom regulator's deadline to file an appeal with the Central Administrative Court against the court order last week.

The court last week gave a reprieve to 90,000 users on DTAC's 850MHz network, allowing them to continue using the spectrum until Dec 15, three months after DTAC's concession expires.

The court lifted the July resolution that denied DTAC from using the 850MHz spectrum after expiry of its concession.

According to legal practice, however, the NBTC as the disputing party of the lawsuit has the right to file an appeal against the court's order within 30 days, or until Oct 15.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, declined to elaborate on the 900MHz auction timeline and refused to comment on whether it was designed to force DTAC to join the bid.

"The NBTC needs to successfully hold the auction of the 900MHz licence, as its role as the regulator is to govern spectrum resource reallocation after the concession ends," he said.

DTAC operated mobile service on 1800- and 850MHz under the CAT Telecom concession, which expired on Sept 15.

The NBTC held the second-round auction of 1800MHz spectrum licences on Aug 19 with lower-than-expected results, as only two out of the total nine blocks of the spectrum were sold, bringing a total of 25 billion baht to state coffers.

Advanced Info Service (AIS) through its subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network won one block containing 5MHz of bandwidth for upload and download (5x2) worth 12.51 billion baht.

DTAC through DTAC TriNet won the other block containing 10MHz worth 12.51 billion baht.

The NBTC had planned to auction the first round of 900MHz licences by upgrading DTAC's 850MHz to the 900MHz range. However, no bidders joined the auction in the first round.

Yesterday, Mr Takorn said the NBTC board has yet to decide on whether it should file an appeal against the court order because it still has time to consider options.

For the timeline and amended conditions of the second-round auction for 900MHz licences, Mr Takorn said the NBTC board's resolution yesterday approved the amended draft of the second-round auction for 900MHz and assigned management to move the timeline forward.

Mr Takorn said the NBTC amended two critical conditions of the original draft of the 900MHz auction to create more attractive conditions for prospective bidders, especially DTAC.

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