Thailand may extend 5G licence payment deadline

Thailand may extend 5G licence payment deadline

A national 5G committee in Thailand has asked regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) to grant the country’s operators various relief measures, including an extension of their licence payment deadlines.

As reported by Bangkok Post, the committee - chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha - has ordered the regulator to consider a suite of relief measures for the telecoms sector, which is weathering the financial impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Operators registered declines across Q4 2020, with market leader AIS seeing its revenue fall, second placed True Move making a loss, and dtac experiencing a drop in profit.

Between them, these three operators - together with state-backed firms CAT Telecom and TOT – spent a total of THB100.5 billion ($3.3 million) on 2,805MHz of spectrum across the 700MHz, 2600MHz and 26GHz bands during the auctions held in February 2020.

Winners of the 700MHz and 2600MHz concessions have 10 years to pay back the fees, but 26GHz licence holders are required to pay in full within just one year of receiving the permit.

In 2018, the regulator advocated extended the payment period for AIS and True Move’s 4G licences, but this plan was shelved following negative feedback. The NBTC has been asked to propose further measures to aid the sector at the committee’s next meeting, to be held on an unconfirmed date in April.