Thailand officially delays 4G auctions

Thai regulator NBTC has confirmed that the country’s 4G auctions, originally scheduled to be held last August, will be delayed again.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has already pushed the auctions back by a year, and has now confirmed that they have been pushed back from August 2015 without setting a new date. The regulator is aiming to generate around THB50 billion ($1.53 billion) from the 4G auction.

The delay has been blamed on the need to introduce new legislation governing the country’s digital economy. An anonymous member of the digital economy initiative’s committee recently suggested that the auctions would be delayed unless the proposed digital economy laws were passed by April.

NBTC chairman Settapong Malisuwan has stated that at least 6 months’ preparation would be required for the auctions, suggesting that they may not take place this year. Originally planned for August 2014, the spectrum auctions were delayed by the military junta that took power in May.

The government has also demanded changes to the frequency act that are aimed at improving transparency. The regulator and several major operators will be extremely disappointed by the delay, having made clear their belief that the auctions should not be delayed any further.

Thailand’s 3G auctions similarly faced a large number of delays, although after finally taking place in 2012 they raised THB41.6 billion for the government.