Thai 700MHz saga approaches climax - Mobile World Live

Thai 700MHz saga approaches climax

19 JUN 2019

Thailand’s three mobile operators signed up for a long-delayed 700MHz spectrum auction, despite earlier expressing reluctance to bid due to the high reservice price.

AIS, True Move and dtac said in separate stock market filings that they submitted applications to the regulator today (19 June).

Last month, the three companies applied to participate in a programme extending their 900MHz licence payment terms, but didn’t commit to participating in the 700MHz auction schedule despite new terms which required them to do so.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) delayed the planned 700MHz auction multiple times due to a lack of interest from operators. All three have complained about the THB17.6 billion ($562 million) reserve price, which they say is high by international standards.

Three 2x10MHz blocks are up for sale: the licences will be valid for 15 years starting from 1 October 2020.

Roadmap required
In a statement, dtac CEO Alexandra Reich said the company believes the “investment will provide significant benefits to all stakeholders as the 700MHz spectrum can be used for 5G”. The additional blocks will bring dtac’s “total bandwidth up to 130MHz (including 2300MHz in partnership with TOT).”

However, despite its potential for 5G, Reich noted the NBTC is yet to develop a clear roadmap for high- and low-band spectrum.

“Thailand is moving towards a full digital society, in which the readiness of 5G is a key element. Therefore, a clear spectrum roadmap is critical to the industry because it helps us create effective long-term investment plans to build infrastructure that can help boost the country’s economy,” she explained.

True Move said it applied for 700MHz spectrum to “maintain a leading position in mobile business service and restructure the payment schedule for the 900MHz frequency spectrum licences”.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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