The planned one-year delay of the 1800-megahertz spectrum auction by regulators could incur an opportunity loss of up to 160 billion baht for businesses and the overall economy, warns the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
Director Deunden Nikomborirak said the loss was based on the delay in the third-generation (3G) auction on the 2100-MHz spectrum and a case study of a frequency auction in England.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) drafted a regulation overseeing mobile customers using 2G cellular services on the 1800-MHz spectrum under a concession from CAT, which will expire on Sept 15, 2013. The draft passed a public hearing last week and is expected to become effective in August.
The draft allows True Move and Digital Phone to continue operating 2G services on the 1800-MHz band for another year after September as a transition period to service the 17 million existing users.
The NBTC scheduled an auction of 25 MHz of bandwidth on the 1800-MHz band in September 2014.
Ms Deunden said an auction of the 1800-MHz frequency for 4G mobile broadband service should take place before concessions expire this year to prevent potential losses of 4G business opportunities and service experience.
She also warned the NBTC it would face legal challenges if the draft regulation is passed as it lacks legal authority.