Thai operator dtac could launch a legal challenge against the country’s regulator if it is prevented from using the 850MHz spectrum band following the expiration of its concession with CAT Telecom on 15th September.
dtac has asked the NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) for indefinite permission to continue delivering services over the 2G spectrum while it transfers its customers onto different networks, in line with the terms of its concession with CAT.
However, the Bangkok Post reports that this is unlikely to be granted, as the regulator could be accused of giving preferential treatment to dtac by its main rivals AIS and True Move. This could result in either of them filing lawsuits of their own against NBTC.
In July this year, the NBTC offered dtac an extension to its concession on the condition that it lodged a bid in the upcoming 900MHz spectrum auction; however, dtac declined the proposal, which resulted in the NBTC scrapping the sale as no other operators were keen to bid.
All of dtac’s 21 million subscribers could have their service interrupted if the operator is prevented from using its 850MHz network, as it uses the spectrum to enable roaming onto rival networks. The operator – Thailand’s third largest – delivers services to around 380,000 subscribers on its 850MHz network.
The only two blocks of spectrum sold in Thailand’s recent sale of 4G spectrum were acquired by dtac and market leader AIS. Both operators paid THB12.5 billion ($375 million) for a 10MHz block of 1.8MHz spectrum.