DTAC allowed to stay on 1800MHz until Oct 24

DTAC allowed to stay on 1800MHz until Oct 24

Total Access Communication (DTAC), the third-largest mobile operator, can continue using 20 megahertz of bandwidth on the 1800MHz spectrum range as per the original conditions of its concession until Oct 24, despite the concession expiring on Sept 15.

According to the telecom regulator's rules, the concession holder can continue using the spectrum under the concession for 30 days after the regulator awards a licence to an auction winner.

On Monday, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) awarded the 1800MHz licence to Advanced Info Service's subsidiary AWN, containing 5MHz of bandwidth or 5x2MHz for upload and download.

DTAC, through DTAC TriNet, won another licence on the 1800MHz for 5MHz in the second-round auction for 1800MHz licences on Aug 19. DTAC has until Nov 21 to submit the first instalment of its licence payment, worth 6.7 billion baht. Three days after the first payment, the NBTC will award a licence to DTAC.

AWN was awarded a licence on Sept 24, so DTAC can use its 20MHz of bandwidth on the 1800MHz for another 30 days, until Oct 24.

However, DTAC recently submitted a letter to the NBTC asking for a permission to continue using the 20MHz on the 1800MHz band until Dec 15.

Mr Takorn said the NBTC has not yet considered the company's request, but it will be on the agenda for the NBTC's next board meeting.

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

Previously, the Central Administrative Court extended the lifeline for 90,000 users on DTAC's 850MHz network to continue using the spectrum until Dec 15, or three months after expiration.

The court overturned the NBTC board's July resolution that refused DTAC use of the 850MHz spectrum after expiry of the concession.

According to legal precedent, the NBTC as the disputing party of the lawsuit has the right to file an appeal against the court order within 30 days from when the court order was released, or until Oct 15.

A source at the NBTC who requested anonymity said DTAC's latest move, asking the NBTC for use of 20MHz of bandwidth on the 1800MHz band, looks like DTAC is trying to take advantage of the right to use the 20MHz under the original concession conditions until the court-ordered expiry date of Dec 15.

The NBTC is waiting for DTAC to submit papers for the second-round auction for 900MHz licences, which has an Oct 8 deadline. The auction is scheduled for Oct 20.

"If DTAC sits out the second-round auction for the 900MHz licence again, it is likely the NBTC will file an appeal with the Central Administrative Court against the court order that previously allowed DTAC to continue using its 850MHz until Dec 15," the source said.

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