AIS, Thailand’s largest mobile operator, presently relying on the TOT network to underpin its operations, is said to have the best chance of becoming the user of 80 percent of TOT mobile network capacity available as a result of new license renewals.
That will have fewer consequences than the numbers immediately would suggest.
While the rumored new license would allocate 80 percent of the available specrum to one operator, while reserving about 20 percent of TOT capacity for wholesale use by any other mobile operator, only 17.5 MHz is being made available under the new license, and all of that capacity had formerly been used by AIS.
In other words, AIS will keep most, but not all of the spectrum it has been licensing from TOT, up to this point.
AT present, AIS has a concession to use about 42 percent of total TOT network capacity, but most of that capacity is unaffected by the new license issuance. Fully 45 MHz of a total of 77 MHz of spectrum is licensed until 2025 or 2027, and is used by AIS, DTAC, True and other firms.
A formal announcement is expected by mid-November 2015.
TOT is one of two major mobile infrastructure providers in Thailand, supplying most of the capacity used by AIS. CAT underpins operations of True and DTAC, the other two big firms in Thailand.
The outcome, all politics aside, is not unexpected. AIS had the clearest incentives to bid whatever it had to, to retain the stability and continuity of its present operations.
Despite those incentives, it appears AIS will have less TOT spectrum under the new license than it had under the older license.