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NBTC set to auction 700MHz licence in December

Jan 18. 2019
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By The Nation

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The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is expected to auction a 700MHz licence in December this year, the regulator's vice chairman Natee Sukonrat said on Friday.

The NBTC is expected to publish the draft rule of recalling the 700MHz band on its website on Friday or Monday. The final rules are expected to be published in the Royal Gazette in April.

The draft also covers the rules for using the auction proceeds to compensate the licensed digital TV broadcasters who will be affected by the recall of the 700MHz band for reallocation to provide a 5G telecom service.

The NBTC will also take about eights months to finish the valuation of the spectrum price and the development of the new digital TV broadcasting spectrum plan.

In parallel, the existing digital TV broadcasters will also have to draw up plans to switch services. Natee said that the NBTC had to complete these issues before moving forward with the licence auction, which was expected to take place in December this year. 

After the auction in December, digital TV broadcasters are expected to take about 10 months to finish moving to 470MHz and the 700MHz will be released to the bid winners after that.

He added that the telecom operators still have time to decide if they want to take part in the 700MHz licence bid.

On Thursday, True Corp said that it does not plan to participate in the 700MHz licence auction as the company is awaiting more clarity on whether the government will grant its request to extend the final instalment payment period of its 900MHz licence.

True subsidiary, True Move H Universal Communication (TUC), and also Advanced Info Service's subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), in separate requests to the junta in 2017, sought ways to extend the payment period of the final instalments of their 900MHz licences.

AWN and TUC are scheduled to pay the hefty final instalments of Bt59.574 billion and Bt60.218 billion, respectively, in 2020.

The NBTC will auction seven lots of the 700MHz, each containing 2x5MHZ bandwidth. The licence is valid for 20 years. Each bidder can go for a maximum of three lots. The upfront payment is divided into nine instalments, 20 per cent of total value in the first instalment and 10 per cent in each of the following instalments.

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