Thailand has pushed back another scheduled spectrum auction, this time a sale of 700MHz spectrum planned for February.
The auction is now lined up for Q3 2019 as the spectrum up for auction will not actually be available until 2020 at the earliest, as it is currently in use by broadcasters. The Bangkok Post reported that a subcommittee set up by regulator NBTC is preparing to recall the spectrum, and has ordered broadcasters and digital TV providers to move to other bands.
The country is no stranger to delaying spectrum auctions, having pushed back auctions scheduled for earlier this year after failing to attract bidders.
In August, the long-postponed sale of 1800MHz underwhelmed, with AIS and dtac each acquiring a single 10MHz block for THB12.5 billion ($380 million). No other bids were submitted and the remaining seven blocks went unsold. However, this did not deter NBTC from auctioning 900MHz spectrum in October. Dtac was the sole bidder in this auction, acquiring one 10MHz block for THB38.06 billion.
Following these auctions, NBTC stated that it would sell the unsold spectrum in February, and would increase the payment period more than twofold in an attempt to foment greater interest. Previous auctions have required payment to be completed in three years; future sales may allow operators eight to ten years to ease the pressure on them.