Thai regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Communication) has confirmed plans to auction 5G-ready spectrum in four bands in February next year.
First up will be 19 10MHz blocks of spectrum in the 2600MHz band along with 27 100MHz blocks in the 26GHz band. Reserve prices for these bands will be revealed at the end of this month. Operators will be able to acquire at most 10 blocks of 2600MHz spectrum and 12 blocks of 26GHz spectrum.
Winning bidders will receive their spectrum in March 2020, with deployments expected to begin that month, reports The Nation. The NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith told The Bangkok Post that details of the auction will be finalised by 20th December, at which point interested parties will be invited to bid.
The 26GHz spectrum is currently unused in Thailand, but the 2600MHz range is held by MCOT. The state-run broadcaster will receive compensation for returning the 190MHz of spectrum to NBTC.
The next round of bidding will be for the 700MHz and 1800MHz bands in mid-2020, with three 5MHz blocks of the former being made available for a base price of THB17.58 billion ($581 million) each. Seven 5MHz blocks of 1800MHz spectrum will be made available for THB12.5 billion per licence.
The NBTC has tried to hold 5G spectrum auctions twice previously but plans have stalled. In 2016 it laid out a timeline for the sale of 2.6GHz spectrum the following year, but the auction was indefinitely delayed. In January this year, it drew up plans for the sale of 6GHz, 28GHz and 2.6GHz spectrum.