dtac views 1800MHz spectrum auction as out of step with needs of telco industry and digital consumers

April 25, 2018 – dtac has indicated that the unintended consequences of the auctions rules for the upcoming 1800 MHz spectrum auction will lower auction revenue, result in unsold spectrum and produce an inefficient market outcome. The NBTC board’s agreement to organize the auction in August 2018 follows the original auction rules of 15MHz block size and the N-1 rule, both of which are misaligned with the needs of the telco industry and Thailand’s increasingly digital consumers.

Lars Norling, Chief Executive Officer, Total Access Communication Plc. or dtac said, “Thailand is currently facing spectrum scarcity to serve the rapid growth of data consumption as well as the digital disruption being experienced. In order to realize Thailand 4.0, the government should prioritize the effectiveness of spectrum management as one of the top national agenda.”

“dtac would like to raise our concerns about the NBTC board agreement to return to the original auction rules of 1800MHz spectrum that will undoubtedly put at risk the telecom industry, consumers’ benefits, and the government’s vision for Thailand 4.0. However, for the coming 1800MHz spectrum auction, dtac will await the formal Information Memorandum and auction details,” said Mr. Norling.

In this regard, dtac has over the last years maintained that (i) the reserve prices should be rationalized by re-setting them to the level of the reserve prices set upon re-auction of AIS and True’s concession spectrum in 2015, which is more appropriate for Thai consumers. (ii) the spectrum blocks should be 2×5 MHz (instead of 2×15 MHz), in line with international best practices (iii) the N-1 rule for the 1800MHz auction (by which the regulator would withhold spectrum and sell fewer spectrum licenses than the number of bidders) shall be removed to not create artificial spectrum scarcity.

“In June, dtac will submit a readiness and consumer protection plan in compliance with the NBTC notification to continue providing best network services for customers until new license holders are announced. This is the same process as with the end of concession and the delayed auction of the other two operators in the past,” said Mr. Norling.

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