An auction of spectrum in the 1800MHz band conducted by Thailand’s telecoms watchdog the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has ended with the only two operators to bid walking away with just a single block of new frequencies apiece.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this month it was confirmed that Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Total Access Communication (DTAC) had each handed over THB2.5 billion (USD75 million) to guarantee their bids for four slots in the 1800MHz band, the maximum number of slots each bidder would have been allowed to win in the auction. In total, the NBTC said it would make available a total of nine 10MHz blocks in the sale process, with each carrying a reserve price of THB12.48 billion.
Now, however, it has been reported by The Bangkok Post that only two of the nine available spectrum blocks were sold in the auction, with both AIS and DTAC paying marginally over the reserve price to each secure one 10MHz block for a THB12.5 billion fee. As per the terms of the sale process, the two operators must now pay 50% of their winning bid within 90 days.
It is understood that a further attempt to sell the 1800MHz spectrum that remained unsold is being planned for later this year, with the NBTC said to be considering amendments to the reserve price and a longer period for licence payment with a view to boosting interest. To that end, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith was cited as saying: ‘The NBTC will urgently conclude its package of revisions to the auction and submit them to its board for approval.’