A dtac executive said Thailand urgently needs a clear roadmap for spectrum availability to prepare for the expected surge in data demand in coming years.
Only a clear spectrum roadmap can prepare the country for the coming data deluge, said Paradai Theerathada, chief of corporate affairs at dtac, the country’s second largest operator, the Bangkok Post reported. While the telecoms regulator says it has a spectrum roadmap, he said when compared with other countries “it is less a roadmap than a catalogue of inventory”.
He said an effective roadmap should include a timeline for spectrum bands to be made available, the amount of spectrum to be allocated and the duration of the mobile licences. Without these, “spectrum in Thailand is sold in bits and pieces by a number of competing government organisations, with no long-term master plan”.
The Post quoted Paradai as saying the lack of a clear plan means “operators buy whatever spectrum comes up for sale, not necessarily what they need. The costs of this hoarding then gets passed on to consumers, who pay more than they would in a fair and transparent market.”
Paradai told the Post that as data needs grow, so does the need to continually expand and strengthen networks. “If operators are skittish about investing, the gap between infrastructure and data volume will grow wider and wider.”
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016, Thailand will have about 600MHz of spectrum available for telecoms in 2020, up from 300MHz at present, which will only put the country on par with Myanmar, the Post reported.
The World Economic Forum ranked Thailand 62nd in its digital readiness index out of 104 countries. Singapore was first and Malaysia 31st.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said in December it will auction off 80MHz in the 2.6GHz band, which is owned but unused by state-owned public broadcaster MCOT, by June to prepare for the eventual rollout of 5G services in 2020.