Thailand delays 4G auction for a year

21 Jul 2014

Thailand’s military junta has delayed the nation’s planned 4G auction for one year while telecom regulator NBTC revises the way it allocates spectrum.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has issued a televised statement stipulating that the NBTC must rethink its spectrum allocation processes, the Bangkok Postreported.

According to the edict, the NBTC’s priorities for the allocation process must be transparency, fairness, national security and the public interest.

The NBTC now plans to hold an auction of 25 MHz of 1800-MHz spectrum and 17.5 MHz of 900-MHz spectrum on or after July next year. The regulator had initially planned to auction the first set of spectrum in August and the second by the end of the year.

The NCPO had already ordered the NBTC to overhaul Thailand’s Frequency Allocation Act to optimize spectrum use.

Analysts believe the delays have the potential to cause billion dollars of lost investment and sales, and cloud the outlook for the nation’s private mobile operators, as they are relying on data growth to stave off revenue declines.

But in interviews with the Post, operators downplayed the potential impact of the decision, asserting that the delay will have little impact, and will even give Thailand’s 4G ecosystem a chance to mature before the rollouts.

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