Thailand delays 4G auction to end of 2015

The regulator of Thailand, NBTC, has pushed the country’s 4G spectrum auctions to the end of the year.

While there had been various conflicting reports regarding the dates of the auctions, the government recently affirmed that they would take place on the originally scheduled date in August this year. However, the junta has wavered regarding the date since it took power in May 2014, while issues with the country’s digital economy have also plagued the regulator.

Two rounds of bidding will be held – the first on November 11 and the second on December 15. The winners will be announced in December.

Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula recently requested that the NBTC consider auctioning frequencies in addition to the scheduled 900MHz and 1.8GHz bands. To this end, it also requested state-owned operator TOT to relinquish 100MHz of 2.3GHz spectrum, and state broadcaster MCOT to return 128MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum.

Operators are keen for the auctions to get underway, having previously petitioned to avoid any delays. Annual voice revenue in Thailand has dropped by around 10%, so operators are looking to 4G as a means of expanding their data offerings to offset this.

Starting prices have been set at THB16.57 billion ($507 million) for 1800MHz spectrum and THB16.085 billion for 900MHz spectrum. The revised prices are expected to bring in THB65.31 billion ($2 billion) for the NBTC.


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