Thailand’s NBTC has again delayed the country’s 700MHz spectrum auction, with the scheduled May date now deferred into August or September to allow the regulator to prepare adequately.
Speaking to the Bangkok Post, the regulator’s secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said that it expected to have finalised the auctions terms in April, along with its plans for compensating the country’s broadcasters after it recalls their spectrum. He added that reserve prices for the auctions were likely to be finalised in May.
Tantasith stated that once these preparations had been completed, a further three months would be required for the NBTC to ready the auction of 700MHz spectrum, which will only be available from next year as it is currently in use by TV providers, who will be allocated spectrum from the T-Band (470MHz to 510MHz) by way of compensation.
The proposal to sell seven 5MHz blocks of spectrum received the green light following a public hearing. This is despite a notable lack of enthusiasm for auctions from the country’s operators, which have each spent vast sums on acquiring airwaves across the last three years.
In October last year, the NBTC announced plans for a further auction of the spectrum which had not been acquired in past sales. To encourage operators to bid, the regulator said it would increase the payment period more than twofold over previous auctions. Two months later, the NBTC delayed the sale from February 2019 to May that year.
Not content with selling off unsold 4G spectrum, the regulator has already announced plans for an auction of 5G-ready 26GHz, 28GHz and 2.6GHz spectrum to be held this year.