Thailand’s regulator approved all five operators submitting applications for a spectrum sale, raising expectations the government could generate a huge windfall after three prior auctions attracted limited interest.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) announced AIS, True Move and state-owned CAT Telecom qualified to bid for spectrum in the 700MHz, 2.6GHz and 26GHz bands. Dtac and state-owned TOT were cleared for the 26GHz band sale. The auction is scheduled to begin on 16 February.
None of operators expressed interest in 1800MHz spectrum, which was left unsold in a long delayed 4G auction in August 2018, when only two of nine blocks of 10MHz available were sold.
The major deterrent was the reserve price per 10MHz slot was set at THB12.48 billion ($400 million) the same level as the winning price during an 1800MHz auction in late 2015.
Last week the country’s three major private mobile operators along with state-owned TOT and CAT Telecom showed overwhelming support for the latest auction.
In late January, NBTC raised its forecast for proceeds from $1.8 billion to $2.1 billion, after the government approved participation by the country’s state-owned operators.
The regulator previously expected the sale to raise about $1.8 billion.
In addition to the tepid interest in the 1800MHz band, the regulator cancelled a 900MHz sale in August 2018 and dtac acquired 10MHz of 900MHz spectrum in an uncontested auction in October the same year.
The country’s first 4G auction in November 2015 generated $2.25 billion for the government, with AIS and True Move each paying more than $1 billion for 15MHz of 1800MHz spectrum.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back