Thailand once again delayed a planned spectrum auction, pushing the sale scheduled for February to the third quarter of 2019 as the 700MHz band, used by broadcasters, won’t be freed up until 2020.
Natee Sukonrat, vice-chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said the soonest the band would be available to mobile operators is early 2020, Bangkok Post reported.
An NBTC subcommittee is working out details to recall the 700MHz spectrum and require broadcasters to migrate to other bands as well as ways to support digital TV operators, the newspaper said.
The regulator said in October it planed to hold a 4G auction in February to sell spectrum which went unsold and was looking to more than double the payment period from previous sales to attract interest.
NBTC was forced to postpone planned auctions earlier this year due to a lack of interest from operators.
A long-delayed 1800MHz spectrum sale ended in August with only two of nine blocks of 10MHz available selling. Market leader AIS and third ranked dtac each spent THB12.5 billion ($380 million) for their respective 4G blocks, with no competitive bids submitted. Dtac also acquired 10MHz of 900MHz spectrum for THB38.06 billion in an uncontested auction October.
The regulator said in November it was considering extending the licence payment terms for future sales from three years to between eight and ten years to reduce the financial burden on the winners.