Two months later, Dtac/TOT 2300 plan still stuck in first gear

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Dtac has expressed concern over a lack of progress over the 2300-MHz partnership deal it won with state telco TOT two months ago.

Speaking to reporters, Dtac SEVP chief corporate affairs officer Paradai Theeratada said that the situation was unusually quiet, and no progress had been made since Dtac was announced as the winner in May. However, he was still hopeful that a deal would be signed by Q4 as planned.

The situation is compounded by the fact that one of the losers of the bid, Tawan Mobile, has officially complained about the result, demanding that TOT explain its selection criteria and why Dtac won.

Paradai noted that the deal may run into problems outside the control of Dtac.

Meanwhile, Paradai said Dtac was also concerned about the timeline for the re-auction of Dtac’s expiring 850- and 1800-MHz concession spectrum.

Dtac’s concession expires in September, and an early auction has been promised for April 2018. However, the current NBTC board expires in October, and the NBTC Act requires that a new board be selected in 180 days. Even in a best-case scenario, assuming no delays, the auction would be very rushed for the new NBTC commissioners to arrange the auction.

There’s also historical precedent for concern about the timing. Thailand’s first Frequency Act also stipulated 180 days to set up a regulator from the promulgation of the 1997 constitution, but it was severely delayed to the point that it was not until 2004 that half the regulator was up and running.

However, Paradai said Dtac could continue to serve its 23 million customers without the 850- and 1800-MHz bands, relying on its 2.1-GHz spectrum (under license) and the 2.3 GHz spectrum from the TOT partnership deal.

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