DTAC seeks to postpone 5G auctions

DTAC seeks to postpone 5G auctions

Total Access Communication (DTAC), the third largest mobile operator, yesterday urged the telecom regulator to postpone the 5G spectrum auctions scheduled for February to include 3500-megahertz spectrum in the auctions.

The request was made one day ahead of the public hearing for the four spectrum licence auctions. The four bands cover 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2600MHz and 26-28 gigahertz ranges.

The demand was swiftly shot down by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which indicated the deferral would hinder the country's competitiveness in innovation development.

Marcus Adaktusson, chief corporate affairs officer of DTAC, said recommendations about the NBTC's planned 5G auction were made to ensure the optimum efficiency of 5G adoption and sustainable 5G licence conditions.

The 3500MHz range is now held by a satellite business under a concession that ends in September 2021, Mr Adaktusson said.

Spectrum in the 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands could be substituted for 5G as they have similar properties, while the 3500MHz range serves as a key band for global 5G, he said.

"DTAC doesn't want to see too long of a postponement, but only clearer details of when the 3500MHz licences would be auctioned and auction conditions, including its reserve price," said Mr Adaktusson.

Meanwhile, 2600MHz spectrum caps should have been set in a way that would avoid potential market distortion, he said.

Some 19 licences were set aside for the range's auction, each containing 10MHz of bandwidth. The NBTC indicated each winner must not hoard more than 100MHz of bandwidth. DTAC urged the NBTC to consider some flexible caps based on the number of bidders instead.

Reserve prices of the four spectrum licences is seen as very high compared to international benchmarks, he said.

Mr Adaktusson would not say whether DTAC will participate in the planned auctions in February.

"It may be easier for DTAC to decide if a 3500MHz auction timeline and related conditions are declared," he said.

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