The auction of the 1800-megahertz spectrum used for second-generation (2G) technology will be held on schedule in September 2014, insists the head of the national telecom regulator.
Col Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's telecom committee, said that the NBTC plans to reallocate the spectra for 4G mobile broadband service.
The confirmation was in response to a recent legal challenge by CAT Telecom, who threatened to sue the watchdog if it conducted the auction.
The frequency is being used by True Move and Digital Phone Co (DPC), the latter a unit of Advanced Info Service (AIS), under CAT's concession agreement, which will expire in September.
Under the Frequency Allocation Act, spectrum holders must return spectra to NBTC for reallocation after concessions expire.
Col Settapong said the regulator was on the verge of setting up measures governing the existing 17 million mobile users on the 1800-MHz spectrum during the one-year transition period.
CAT executives oppose the auction, as the state telecom enterprise wants to keep at least 25 MHz of bandwidth on the 1800-MHz spectrum for its business development.
CAT also threatened to sue if an information memorandum (IM) for frequency reallocation takes effect.
Col Settapong said the IM draft is expected to be completed this year.
A public hearing on the draft will be held before passing it to the NBTC board for endorsement.
The draft is expected to be published in the Royal Gazette early next year.
Col Settapong said the IM suggested that CAT, regarded as an entity who will be directly impacted, will have 90 days to appeal the draft before it takes effect.
He also said the auction of the 1800-MHz spectrum in September 2014 will likely be packed with 17.5 MHz of bandwidth on the 900-MHz spectrum, which is now used by AIS under an concession agreement with TOT that expires in September 2015.
The auction will use package bidding to allow simultaneous bidding on both the 900- and the 1800-MHz spectra.
Col Settapong said a spectrum cap for package bidding will be required in order to encourage fair competition.
About the author
- Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter