Looks like the 900 MHz spectrum auction will not be seeing the daylight, when the top three mobile brands including Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (ADVANC), Total Access Communication Public Company Limited (DTAC) or True Corporation Public Company Limited, all threw in the towel on the 900 MHz spectrum auction.
What! Why won’t those three brands join the bidding, while the spectrum can cover a wider area than 1800 MHz spectrum?
It is nothing complicated. To put it bluntly, “It is too expensive!” The selling price of the 900 MHz spectrum from the last auction was 75 billion baht, approximately. Which was three times higher than the evaluation price, and also broke the world record. The reservation price this time is almost 36 billion baht, making the bid become uninterested.
It is impossible that the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will lower the reservation price, as it has become prejudice against TRUE and ADVANC, who both won the “bloodshed battle” in the last auction. So, it is not likely that the auction for 900 MHz will be held this time.
While an observation should be put on DTAC, who informed NBTC about interest in joining the auction for 900 MHz spectrum not long ago. Resulting in NBTC bringing the 900 MHz back into the auction. But DTAC got frightened all of a sudden and ran away.
Looking on the necessity of these three brands on owning this 900 MHz spectrum, DTAC seems to be the one in need more than the others as DTAC’s concession will expire in September 2018. So, the reason of DTAC running away from the auction probably is not because of worrying that the spectrum will disrupt with the Rapid Transit System signal as DTAC claimed.
Deep down, is DTAC avoiding the auction because of the reservation price?
ADVANC have already owned 10 MHz (license ends 2031). So, not getting this 900 MHz spectrum does not seem to hurt ADVANC in any other way. However, if ADVANC wants to stock the spectrum to support customers or to get an advantage in the market competition, the 900 MHz spectrum does seem to be a good option to have.
TRUE also already owns 10 MHz, and judging from the amount of TRUE MOVE’s base customers, this 900 MHz is not necessary. But the (real) reason is that TRUE is having a funding problem after used up their credit limit from last auction.
To conclude it straightforwardly, if NBTC does not lower the 900 MHz spectrum reservation price, the auction will surely face the second epic fail without a chance to see the daylight.