Thailand’s military government ordered a one-year suspension to a 4G auction planned by the country’s regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The NBTC said the auction is now scheduled for July 2015.
The military’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) suspended the auction temporarily in June while it gave the process a thorough examination.
The result is a one-year delay which the council said was necessary to amend regulations to ensure the sell-off would be conducted transparently, according to the Bangkok Post.
The holdup could spell bad news for market leader AIS which unlike its largest rivals does not already have 4G capacity.
However the operator, which has approximately 45 per cent of the country’s mobile connections, argued it will not be affected because it has contingency plans in place.
AIS has 43 million connections (GSMA Market Intelligence, Q2 2014), ahead of rivals Telenor-backed DTAC (29 million) and True (23 million). There are also three smaller operators.
DTAC and True, in which China Mobile last month agreed to buy a 18 per cent stake, both have existing 4G allocations.