NBTC board to mull eased payments schedule for operators

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Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) and TrueMove H Universal Communication have asked that they be allowed to pay the fourth – and final – instalment of the 900MHz licence fee over five payments.

The NBTC said it will propose to the regulator’s board that the requests be considered at a meeting on December 27.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said yesterday that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) had asked the NBTC to make opinions on the two operators’ requests, which had been sent to the junta. The junta wants the NBTC’s opinion on the case, to help enable the NCPO to make a decision on the requests.

Takorn said that both licence holders have asked for the fourth instalment to be payable in five tranches, with the operators saying that this would enable them to allocate more money to furthering their network roll-outs.

AWN and TrueMove H are

required to each pay the fourth instalment of around Bt60 billion in 2019.

AWN and TrueMove H both won the 900MHz spectrum licences by proposing Bt75.6 billion and Bt76.2 billion, respectively at the auction in 2015. The auction rules oblige them to pay for the licence in four instalments, beginning with Bt8.040 billion in the first year, Bt4.020 billion in the second and third year, and the balance of about Bt60 billion in the fourth year.

Takorn said that if the operators’ requests to the junta were granted, this condition would be applied to the winner of the upcoming round of a new auction for a 900MHz licence.

The NBTC yesterday held a one-time public hearing on the planned new auction rounds, for one 900MHz licence and three 1800MHz licences.

In the hearing, DTAC representatives argued that NBTC should remove the N-1 rule from the auction of the 1800MHz licences as the rule creates artificial spectrum scarcity. The N-1 rule dictates that the number of the available licences must be lower than the number of the bidders to ensure meaningful competition.

DTAC also proposed that the allocation of the 1800MHz spectrum, totalling 45MHz bandwidth, be divided into nine blocks, each with 5 MHz. The NBTC plans to sell such 1800MHz bands with 45MHz into three licences of 15MHz bandwidth each.

It added that the reserve price should be set at a level that incentivises the interested bidders and lets the competitive bidding mechanism determine the right spectrum prices.

 

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