MCOT to fight B3.2bn spectrum deal

MCOT to fight B3.2bn spectrum deal

NBTC offer falls way short, president says

MCOT Plc has vowed to appeal against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) decision to pay 3.2 billion baht in compensation for the 2600-megahertz spectrum recall for the 5G licence auctions in February.

MCOT president Kematat Paladesh insisted the compensation to the MCOT should be 50 billion baht as estimated and requested by the broadcaster.

He was addressing a press conference in response to accusations that he had already agreed to accept 3.2 billion baht in compensation.

"I've never said I agreed to that amount," he said. The appeal will begin soon after the NBTC formally informs the MCOT about the exact amount of compensation. Mr Kematat said MCOT shareholders were informed about the NBTC's decision and agreed the offered compensation was insufficient.

Last Wednesday, the NBTC resolved to pay 3.2 billion baht in compensation to the MCOT for the 2600-megaherz spectrum recall, saying the broadcaster will have to divide the sum with its pay TV partner, Playwork.

Asked if the MCOT plans to take the dispute to court, Mr Kematat said if the the dispute cannot be settled by other means, the court option will be considered. But that would lead to a further delay in the compensation payment. "The MCOT is calling for the amount it deserves to get and I insist I did not know beforehand how much the compensation the agency would actually get from the NBTC. It's totally untrue that I had agreed beforehand to accept 3.2 billion baht," he said.

The NBTC had never asked the MCOT how much compensation it should receive over the spectrum recall. However, the MCOT and its contractor had estimated compensation for the 15-year holding of the frequency should be 50 billion baht, he said.

When the NBTC asked for a projection of revenue the MCOT was estimated to earn from the 15-year holding, the MCOT submitted an estimation of 226.8 billion baht in revenue. It also said it should receive 50 billion baht if the deal fails, Mr Kematat added. Before the recall, the MCOT had invested a great deal of money over a period of 10 years, he said.

The compensation controversy puts the MCOT in the spotlight after its workers' union petitioned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on June 1, asking him to look into the compensation payment for the spectrum recall.

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