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Telecom committee raises minimum bid for 1,800MHz licences

Aug 19. 2015
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By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
THE NATION

THE TELECOM committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission yesterday approved an increase in the minimum starting bid for each of two licences on the 1,800-megahertz spectrum to Bt15.912 billion, or 80 pre cent of the full spectr
Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, said the removal of the 60MHz spectrum cap followed an agreement by Total Access Communication (DTAC) to hand over 5MHz of the bandwidth it holds on the 1,800MHz spectrum for the auction. This will enable the NBTC to auction a total of 30MHz on that spectrum, 15MHz per licence, up from the originally planned total of 25MHz. 
The auction is scheduled for November 11.
Earlier the NBTC set the minimum bid at Bt13.92 billion, or 70 per cent of the full assessed value, but academics and consumer-protection groups complained that this was too low. 
The telecom committee also cut the licence period of this spectrum from 19 years to 18. Winners of the licences will also have to cover 50 per cent of the population within eight years, a change from 40 per cent within four years.
The committee will propose these amendments to the draft auction rules for the NBTC board’s consideration tomorrow. 
Meanwhile, Takorn said the NBTC would ask the Cabinet to extend the deadline for registering prepaid SIM cards to September 30 from August 31. 
Originally those failing to register their SIM cards by July 31 were not able to call out but could still register until August 31 to avoid having their service terminated. 
The NBTC will also ask the Cabinet to allow the telecom companies to inform users that all services will be terminated on September 30 if they fail to register their SIM cards.
A total of 70 million phone numbers, or 85 per cent of those using prepaid SIM cards, had registered by the end of July, according to the NBTC. 
Around 17.7 million users had still not registered, of which 9.2 million phone numbers belonged to Advanced Info Service, 5.5 million to DTAC and 3 million to True Corp. 
 

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