Thailand’s AIS and dtac have expressed reluctance to bid in the country’s upcoming 700MHz spectrum auctions despite applying to extend the payment term for their 900MHz licences.
As Thailand is currently under an interim constitution, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has the authority to change the payback terms for spectrum licences via executive order, and did so on 11th April. The NBTC has begun this process for 900MHz licences, offering operators the chance to pay back their fees via ten annual instalments rather than four.
However, if operators opt for these repayment terms, they are obliged to participate in the country’s upcoming 700MHz spectrum auction, which has been delayed several times due to a lack of interest from operators.
Operators had a 30-day window to respond to the payment term changes. Last week, True Move asked the NBTC if it could follow the new repayment plan while openly stating that it would not bid in the 700MHz auction as it has enough low-band spectrum across the 850MHz and 900MHz bands.
While AIS and dtac have filed the same request with the NBTC, the former has reserved the right to pull out of the auction, while dtac has stated that its involvement “depends on the conditions to be determined by the NBTC”. However, if they abstain from the 700MHz auction, both operators have agreed to revert to the original four payments for their 900MHz licences.