NBTC to hold 5G spectrum auction in June

12 December 2016 | James Pearce


Thai regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will auction 80MHz of 2600-MHz spectrum by June 2015, it has announced.

The unused spectrum is currently allocated to state-owned broadcaster MCOT but will be offered to operators to facilitate the development of 5G technologies, according to reports from the country.

The Bangkok Post claims the regulator is in negotiations with MCOT to buy back the spectrum, with compensation to be paid either before or after the planned spectrum.

The regulator is not currently authorised to pay compensation to state-owned agencies in return from frequencies, although this is expected to change with a new NBTC bill which will come into effect next year.

The plans will see the regulator grant at least two 25MHz licenses and one 30MHz license on the 2600MHz band. This will help operators lay out a spectrum roadmap towards the commercial standardisation of 5G in 2020.

“Global operators, including China Mobile, the strategic partner of the country’s third largest operator True Move, asked the NBTC to set a clear spectrum auction roadmap, especially for 2.6GHz, the most compatible band for 5G technology,” NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasith told the Bangkok Post.

In September, NBTC unveiled a five-year master plan for the telecoms industry in Thailand, which included regulations to promote new technologies such as 5G.

Last year, it held two auctions for 4G airwaves, raising $6.5 billion. It has also announced plans to hold auctions for three spectrum bands in 2018.