NBTC spectrum roadmap could see 3500-MHz auctions in 2026

NBTC spectrum roadmap could see 3500-MHz auctions in 2026

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Office is working on a spectrum management roadmap that could see auctions for the 3500-MHz band in 2026.

According to the Bangkok Post, the spectrum management roadmap includes the 850-MHz, 2100-MHz, 2300-MHz and 3500-MHz bands, The NBTC holds 400 MHz of bandwidth in the 3500-MHz band, while the other three bands are currently held by state-owned National Telecom (NT).

NT will give up those bands after its licences for them expire in 2025. In September, NT sold its 700-MHz spectrum license to AIS for around US$419 million.

NBTC commissioner Sompob Purivigraipong told the Post that the plan “will set a clear path for spectrum resource management, helping telecom and related industries evaluate their business plans and prepare future investment plans.”

Sompob added that it will also take into account how keen operators may or may not be to fork over money for new spectrum by the time the auctions start.

“A proper period to allocate those spectrum ranges may be from 2026," Sompob told the publication.

In September, Ericsson Thailand head Igor Maurell urged the NBTC to auction the 3500-MHz band sooner, ideally by 2025, to boost Thailand’s competitiveness in 5G. Failing that, it should allocate the 2300-MHz band for the same purpose in 2025 after NT surrenders it.

The 3500-MHz band is one of the more coveted mid-range 5G bands. The NBTC allocated the 700-MHz, 2600-MHz, and 26-GHz bands for 5G in early 2020.

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