Thailand’s telecoms regulator announced details of 5G spectrum auctions scheduled to begin in February 2020, with licences to be issued across four bands and rollouts to start in March, The Nation reported.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said it will auction spectrum first in the 2600MHz and 26GHz bands, and later in the 700MHz and 1800MHz bands.

A total of 190MHz of 2600MHz airwaves will be released in 10MHz blocks, while 2700MHz in the 26GHz band will be divided in 100MHz blocks, the newspaper said. The reserve price for these two bands will be announced at the end of October.

Operators will be restricted to a maximum 100MHz in the 2600MHz band and 1200MHz in 26GHz.

In mid-2020, three 5MHz blocks of 700MHz spectrum will be sold at a reserve price of THB17.58 billion ($581 million) per block. The 1800MHz spectrum will be split into seven 5MHz blocks, with a starting price of THB12.5 billion per licence.

NBTC plans to finalise the auction details next month and invite bidders by 20 December, The Nation wrote.

Third time lucky
This is NBTC’s third attempt at holding 5G spectrum auctions. It first detailed plans to auction 2.6GHz spectrum in 2016, targeting 2017 to conduct the process, but the sale was subsequently pushed back with no alternative announced.

In January, it outlined plans for an auction across the 6GHz, 28GHz and 2.6GHz bands, establising a dedicated team to draft the conditions for this.

Operators dtac, TOT and CAT Telecom later joined forces to launch 5G testbeds at two universities.