900MHz licence purchased by DTAC
Telecom giant offers B38bn as sole bidder at auction
Total Access Communication (DTAC) subsidiary DTAC TriNet won a 900 megahertz licence for 38.06 billion baht, in a sole bidder auction Sunday.
The nation's third largest telecom company was left alone to bid after its bigger rivals -- Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True -- stayed out as they had already secured 900MHz licences.
The auction started with a reserve price set at 37.98 billion baht.
Bidders are required to place each bid in 76 million baht increments.
DTAC TriNet had to offer another single bid to successfully grab the licence.
The offered price was close to the figure estimated by financial analysts.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held the auction of 5MHz of bandwidth in the 900MHz range.
Yet the winner is allowed to operate the 850MHz licence for another 24 months during the switching from the 850MHz to 900MHz network due to hardware upgrades across the nation, according to Takorn Tantasith, the NBTC's secretary-general.
The winner is required to pay in four sums.
The initial one is an installment of 4.02 billion within 90 days after Oct 31.
Second is 2.01 billion in 2019, another 2.01 billion in the 2020, and the rest of about 30 billion in 2021.
In a related development, the NBTC is prepared to sell leftover bandwidth on the 1,800MHz spectrum in February -- the last slot from the concession regimen before the pivot to 5G.
The expected spectrum will be the remaining 35MHz of bandwidth in the 1,800MHz range, which would come with longer terms for licence payments of 8-10 years, up from the existing three years.
Previously, NBTC auctioned the second round auction of 45MHz of bandwidth on the 1,800MHz range on Aug 19, divided into nine slots each containing 5MHz or 5x2 MHz for upload and download.
However, only two out of total nine blocks were sold with a combined winning price of 25 billion baht to the state coffers.
AIS through its subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network won one block of the 1,800MHz licence worth 12.51 billion baht.
DTAC through DTAC TriNet won another block of MHz worth 12.51 billion baht also.
The bidding next year is to attract mobile operators to bid on additional spectrum bandwidth that would provide better service and capacity for customers, Mr Takorn said.
"The auction of the remaining 35MHz would also help the regulator end the concession era, paving the way for new auctions on spectrum ranges that would serve 5G wireless broadband in the future," Mr Takorn said.
Another spectrum to be put on auction next year is a 2,600MHz range now being used by state-owned broadcaster MCOT.
NBTC's working panel has drafted regulatory conditions for recalling spectrum and compensation. Details will go to the NBTC board meeting next month.
The new compensation rules will allow NBTC to pay compensation to some old concession holder in order to regain spectrum and repackage them to sell in new bidding.