Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans to move ahead with next year’s 4G auction as it sees the additional spectrum as key to boosting operators’ capacity and serving the government’s digital-economy goals.
NBTC vice chairman Settapong Malisuwan said the regulator will start working out details in January for the 900MHz and 1.8GHz auctions planned for July, the Bangkok Post reported. The ITU has been brought in to design the auction process and set reserve prices.
The long-awaited 4G auctions were pushed back from this year by the country’s military government in July, which took power in May and requested that the method for allocating spectrum be reviewed to improve transparency.
Despite the ongoing review of the country’s telecoms law, which may impact NBTC’s authority, the regulator said it will push on with the spectrum sale even as the law is reviewed.
The Post quoted Settapong as saying the NBTC “must be responsible for allocating spectrum for optimum benefit of the industry and the country”.
Alcatel-Lucent Thailand managing director Sebastien Laurent last week called on the regulator to release more 4G bandwidth and support the move to full-scale commercial networks to keep up with soaring data demand and provide a boost to the Thai economy.
The NBTC is negotiating with the country’s mobile operators to hand over unused airwaves. AIS has 17.5MHz of 900MHz spectrum that expires next September. True Move and Digital Phone were given permission to run their 2G networks for another year using 25MHz of 1.8GHz frequency that expired last September, the Post said.
Earlier in the month the NBTC rejected state-owned TOT’s request to allow it to keep its 900MHz spectrum for an additional 10 years after its concession runs out next September.