By Usanee Mongkolporn
The telecom committee of the National Broadcasting and Tele-communications Commission finalised the auction date for 900MHz licences yesterday.
It will notify the Cabinet of the change in the 900MHz auction date, which it had earlier tentatively set as December 15.
Takorn Tantasith, secretary-|general of the NBTC, said the re-vised date meant that the bid winners for 1,800MHz and 900MHz licences would be able to launch services on both spectra at the same time, which is expected to be in January.
The combined cost of the NBTC holding the two auctions is estimated at Bt110 million.
After the auctions, the existing second-generation services on 1,800MHz of TrueMove and |Digital Phone Co (DPC) will be |officially shut down on November 18, and the 2G service on 900MHz of Advanced Info Service (AIS) |will be officially closed on Novem-ber 19, as their spectrum band-|width will be transferred to the bid winners.
The NBTC will approve the results of the bidding for 1,800MHz licences on November 18, and the 900MHz results the following day, Takorn said.
Since their concessions ended in September 2013, the NBTC has permitted TrueMove and DPC to continue providing services to subscribers until all of them are migrated to other networks.
The commission granted the same permission to AIS, whose concession ended last month.
Currently, around 2.5 million subscribers remain with AIS, around 120,000 with TrueMove and about 900 with DPC.
However, state telecom agency TOT is considering suing the NBTC to stop the planned auction of 900MHz licences. Its board will meet on October 20 to decide whether to file a lawsuit.
The telecom committee yester-day also approved the names of the four companies that are pre-qualified to bid for 1,800MHz licences: AIS’s Advanced Wireless Network; DTAC TriNet Network, a unit of Total Access Communication; True Move H Universal Communication, which is part of True Corp; and Jasmine International’s Jas Mobile unit.
The auctions of the 1,800MHz and 900MHz licences are expected to realise at least Bt73 billion in upfront licence-fee payments for the state, Takorn said.
It is expected that the same four companies pre-qualified to bid for 1,800MHz licences will also submit documents to bid for 900MHz licences.
The NBTC will give companies until October 22 to submit the required documentation for |participation in the 900MHz |auction.