Dtac gets the nod from TOT for 2.3 GHz network scheme

Source: Yozzo

State telco TOT Corporation has finally selected Dtac to be its partner for its 2.3 GHz network, according to a letter Dtac filed with the Securities Exchange Commission.

Dtac has offered TOT $131 million (4.51 billion baht) per year for network rental and maintenance, and expects to finalize negotiations by Q4 this year. Dtac will take on 60% of TOT’s capacity as an MVNO.

TOT has ten years left on its 15-year legacy 2.3 MHz license.

The letter to the SEC said that TeleAssets, a Dtac company, will be the entity leasing and providing network maintenance services to TOT, while Dtac Trinet will be the entity buying 60% capacity off TOT under the MVNO agreement.

This arrangement is similar to the one pioneered by TrueMove in which TrueMove subsidiary BFKT provides CAT Telecom the network, which is then resold to TrueMove subsidiary RealMove as an MVNO, as a way to engineer a backdoor de facto concession.

Earlier, the NBTC Board ruled that the 2.3 GHz business plan by TOT was illegal under Section 46 of the NBTC Act that prohibits sub-letting of spectrum, and ordered the spectrum recalled and reallocated via auction. However, TOT said it would bypass the telecoms regulator and seek approval for the project from the Attorney General instead. Later, NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasit told TOT that it did not need to worry about the law and offered the use of Section 44, the absolute power clause of the interim constitution wielded by the ruling military junta, to get the project expedited.

Dtac CEO Lars Norling told reporters that there is increased demand for mobile services, and this arrangement will be beneficial for everyone under Thailand 4.0. A formal press conference will be held on Friday May 26.

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