Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) have backtracked on a decision to split the 1800-MHz spectrum that was planned to be reallocated in an auction into nine 10-MHz blocks. Instead, the regulator plans to auction the spectrum in three 30-MHz lots, according to the Bangkok Post.
The regulator reportedly changed its plan after operators complained about the move to split the spectrum into 10-MHz blocks as it would harm their long-term business strategies. The NBTC was also motivated to bring the upcoming auction in line with the two previous 1800-MHz auctions that took place in 2015.
Thai operator Dtac currently uses the 1800-MHz spectrum that will be allocated in the auction. The spectrum was allocated to Dtac as part of its old concession agreement with state-owned CAT Telecom. The 1800-MHz spectrum will be freed up come September when the concession expires. This could be an issue for Dtac, as the auction is planned for after September, in which case the operator could be left without the required spectrum to maintain service for its customers.
Dtac, the third largest mobile operator in Thailand, says customers will not be disrupted by the expiration, but its profit is said to be taking a hit as a result of the decision. For instance, Dtac could, according to reports, use remedy measures to continue offering services, which would require the operator to transfer all earnings after expenses to the government to compensate for being able to continue operating without a license for the required spectrum.