Thailand to move ahead with 5G auctions

30 Jan 2019

Thai telecoms regulator NBTC plans to move ahead with plans to auction off 5G spectrum in the 26-GHz, 28-GHz and 2.6-GHz frequency bands later this year.

The regulator has assigned a team to draft auction conditions for the auction, and has given it until February to draft the initial details, the Bangkok Postreported.

According to the report, the move is aimed at ensuring operators have access to the spectrum required for 5G services. The regulator is leaning towards conducting a hybrid auction model, with the winners decided based on both bid amount and the details of operators' 5G rollout proposals.

The more commonly allocated 3.5-GHz band is currently held by Thaicom, but the NBTC expects to be able to meet the initial requirements of operators preparing for 5G by allocating 4,000MHz of bandwidth in the 26-GHz and 28-GHz ranges.

The 2.6-GHz band is meanwhile currently held by state owned broadcaster MCOT, but the broadcaster has agreed to return around 150MHz of bandwidth to the regulator in exchange for compensation.

Meanwhile not a single private mobile operator has expressed an interest in taking part in a planned 700-MHz auction scheduled for May, leaving state-owned CAT the only interested potential bidder. The operator plans to seek a foreign partner to participate in the auction with it.

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