Thailand’s telecoms regulator has confirmed that the already delayed 4G spectrum auctions scheduled for August will have to be pushed back because of delays in setting up the country’s digital economy committee.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which had expected to earn close to THB50 billion ($1.53 billion) from the 4G auction, said the auction will definitely not take place in August, but did not indicate when they would be held, the Bangkok Post reported.
NBTC vice chairman Settapong Malisuwan told the Post it needed at least six months to prepare for the auctions, which means they likely will be pushed back to next year.
A committee member working on the digital economy initiative said in early February that the auctions could be delayed until next year unless the draft laws for the initiative were passed by April.
The person said the initiative has faced a number of delays amid increasing concern that it will ever actually get off the ground. The Council of State has requested a number of what it says are “practical” changes, including having the Digital Economy Policy Committee chaired by a deputy prime minister instead of the prime minister and reducing the number of committee members to 12 from the suggested 32.
The Council of State is working to modify a number of draft bills intended to transform the country’s economy, after they faced strong public criticism, particularly the cyber-security bill.
The auctions were scheduled for last August, but the country’s junta, which took power in May, pushed back the 900MHz and 1.8GHz auctions by a year and called for changes in a number of sections of the frequency act to improve transparency before the process.
NBTC had pushed the government not to delay the auctions again because the 900MHz concession held by AIS expires on 30 September.
Thailand’s 3G auctions in 2012 raised THB41.6 billion for the government.