The telecoms committee of the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has tentatively set the third quarter of 2014 as the re-auction date for 25MHz of 1800MHz spectrum to be returned to the Thai regulator when concessions expire in September this year. 12.5MHz apiece will be returned by True Corp’s True Move unit and Digital Phone Company, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS), after their build-transfer-operate (BTO) concessions under state-owned CAT Telecom elapse, and the watchdog plans to package the 1800MHz frequencies in 4G-suitable licences. As reported by the Bangkok Post, the chairman of the telecoms committee, Settapong Malisuwan, added that provisions must be made to migrate the existing 2G 1800MHz service users, including expanding the capacity for mobile number portability (MNP) to transfer users to new 3G/4G networks, which is currently 40,000 numbers per day. TeleGeography notes that AIS’ 1800MHz subscriber base is only a minor segment of its total users, but migrating True’s large existing 1800MHz user base within a year or so of the concession expiry date represents a significant undertaking.
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