Thai operators step up pressure to avoid 4G auction delay

The three major Thai operators are attempting to apply pressure the country’s military junta to avoid a further delay of the country’s 4G forthcoming 4G auctions.

AIS, Dtac and True Move have organised a press event entitled “Moving Thailand into the 4G era to serve the digital economy”, which is squarely aimed at ensuring the auctions do not suffer a similar series of delays to the country’s 3G auctions.

The military government, which assumed power in May 2014, has delayed bidding for 900MHz and 1.8GHz spectrum into mid-2015. Previously scheduled for the end of 2014, the auctions were delayed under the pretext of changing several sections of the frequency act in order to increase transparency.

While the regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) has stated that preparations should begin in January with the auctions due to take place in July, this target may be affected by legislative changes.

In November 2014, the national legislative assembly suggested eliminating the independent regulator following an investigation of allegations that the regulator was a poorly governed waste of money.

Meanwhile, the country’s operators are left coping with a massive increase in data traffic, with 25% of Thailand’s 40 million smartphones 4G-ready and average monthly data usage at 400Mb.