Thai regulator NBTC plans to divide the 1800-MHz spectrum set to be auctioned this year into up to three times the number of blocks, in response to requests from the industry.
The 90 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum due to be put on the block will now be divided into up to nine slots instead of three, the Bangkok Post reported.
According to the report, the NBTC plans to only auction three slots if there is a single qualified bidder, four slots if there are two bidders, six slots if there are three bidders and all nine slots if there are four or more bidders.
In making the change, the regulator said it agreed with statements from the industry that dividing the spectrum into nine slots would better meet the particular needs of each bidder.
The change is also expected to result in more competition in the bidding as a variety of block sizes is created.
Major operators AIS and True Move are already struggling to meet the remaining license payments on the 4G spectrum they won in 2015, and recently asked the government to invoke a constitutional clause allowing for any order to be issued to extend the final payment date to ease the financial burden.
The spectrum due to be auctioned is currently operated by DTAC under a concession with state-owned operator CAT Telecom, and also includes 10 MHz of 850-MHz spectrum. This agreement is due to expire in September 30. The Thai government switched from the concession model to a more conventional auction model for allocating spectrum in 2010.