Junta chief Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has invoked Section 44 of the interim constitution to solve all problems stemming from the botched 4G 900-megahertz auction last December, with the starting price set at 75.65 billion baht and existing users of the frequency protected.
The order was published in the Royal Gazette and took effect on Tuesday.
Jasmine International Plc will be barred from the new auction but True Corp can join it since the order requires the auction be open to all, except for violators of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) rules.
- See also: NBTC to bill JAS for 'damages'
The order set the starting price at 75.65 billion baht, the winning price by Jasmine in the December auction, and each bidder must put up a guarantee of 3.78 billion baht.
The order also extends the licence of the spectrum until a new licence is granted to the new winner.
Advanced Info Service Plc, which currently operates the spectrum, can continue to serve customers on the spectrum until June 30 or when the NBTC grants the licence to the winner, whichever comes first, the order stated.
A 66-hour auction for two lots of 900-megahertz spectrum for 4G use was held in mid-December last year.
The first mobile phones (upper left) appeared in 1984, and evolved to the first smartphone (lower right) in 2010. Thousands still resist or refuse to upgrade. (Creative Commons licence, via Wikipedia)
JAS Mobile Broadband Co, a subsidiary of Jasmine International Plc, won the first lot (895-905MHz and 940-950MHz) for 75.65 billion baht.
True Move H Universal Communication won the second lot (905-915MHz and 950-960 MHz) for 76.3 billion. The licences are for 15 years, with the reserve price was 12.86 billion.
Advanced Wireless Network, the AIS subsidiary, last offered 75.98 billion for Lot 2 before throwing in the towel while DTAC Tri Net's last offer was 70.18 billion baht for Lot 1.
JAS Mobile, however, failed to pay the first instalment of the licence fee, saying its prospective partner was not ready and it faced a last-minute hassle in obtaining a bank guarantee, prompting the NBTC to find a new winner.
The delay affected existing users of the spectrum, now operated by AIS, because the NBTC rules required that the two licences expire when one of the winners made the first payment for the first instalment, which True did on March 11.
AIS sought court injunctions to allow it serve the customers but it was only a temporary solution.