Thailand’s ICT minister has called for spectrum held by state-owned operators to be returned to the government and refarmed so that it can be resold for 4G use.
The newly created digital economic committee should address the issue of refarming in order to make additional bandwidth available for 4G services, argues ICT Minister Pornchai Rujiprpa.
Legislative hurdles related to this new committee were cited as a main cause for delaying the country’s 4G auctions. Originally scheduled for August this year, the government has now pushed the 900MHz and 1.8GHz auctions back to November and December.
Thailand’s mobile operators – already disgruntled about the delay – are also calling for more spectrum to be put to auction, arguing that they will not be able to provide efficient 4G services without at least 20MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum available. Currently two blocks of 12.5MHz are being sold.
Pornchai noted that state operators who returned their spectrum could receive different frequencies or other compensation in exchange. He added that the government is planning to grant regulator NBTC greater authority to reallocate spectrum.