Thai 4G auction hit by delay

Thai 4G auction hit by delay

18 JUN 2014

An auction of spectrum to be used for 4G services in Thailand has been put on hold following a request from the country’s recently-installed military ruling council.

An auction for a 25 MHz block in the 1.8 GHz spectrum band was due to be held in August, with a 17.5 MHz block in the 900 MHz band due to go under the hammer towards the end of the year.

According to Reuters, Thai telecoms regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecoms Commission (NBTC) said the terms of the auction are to be reviewed in a bid to make them more transparent.

Wichian Mektrakarn, chief executive of market leading operator AIS, told Reuters that it is unclear how long the suspension of the 4G auction will be.

Following the news, shares in AIS declined 3 per cent, although rival True saw an 11 per cent rises. AIS is the only Thai operator not yet offering 4G despite having the highest number of customers with 4G-enabled devices, according to Reuters.

The Thai mobile market has attracted a number of foreign operators, with China Mobile the most recent to make a move. The world’s largest operator announced last week that it plans to acquire an 18 per cent stake in True, the third-largest operator in Thailand, for around $880 million.

SingTel holds a stake in market leader AIS (which it was reportedly looking to increase in February), while Telenor controls number two operator DTAC.

At the end of the first quarter, AIS had 42.4 million connections, according to GSMA Intelligence figures, with DTAC on 28.2 million connections. Third-placed True had 23.1 million connections.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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