Thailand’s government has announced that the long-awaited “4G” auction will be held by August.
Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakul announced that the government has consulted with the regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, and said that the regulator is ready to conduct the auction.
Pridiyathorn promised that the government will not micro-manage the auction and will allow the regulator to do its job. However, he said that he expects the regulator to expand the spectrum available to match other countries and that the NBTC will have to report back to the Digital Economy board every month.
“I want them to look not just at 900 and 1800, but to use 2300, 2400 [sic] and 2600 for 4G too,” he said, obviously unaware that 2400 was used for WiFi.
Deputy PM Pridiyathorn will be in contact with MCOT, formerly the Mass Communications Authority of Thailand, to negotiate the return of 120 MHz of 2.5-GHz spectrum for inclusion in the 4G auction within the next two weeks. That spectrum is currently used for broadcasting.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit has said that the NBTC would be offering two licences of 10 MHz each on 900-MHz. The regulator has also identified 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz for high-capacity mobile backhaul.
The new Digital Economy laws formally empowering the DE board and de-powering the NBTC have not yet been enacted and it is unclear what authority the new DE board is using to order the NBTC around. However the DE board is chaired by Prime Minister and junta leader General Prayuth Chanocha and the junta has absolute power under the interim constitution and state of martial law that currently governs the country.