NBTC confirms conditions for 700MHz auction

20 May 2019 | Natalie Bannerman

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The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), Thailand’s telecoms and broadcasting regulator has completed its terms for the 700MHz auction.

According to The Nation, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith confirmed that the regulator has finished the final draft of the auction terms. He goes on to say that, each slot will feature 10MHz bandwidth, with a licence term of 15 years that can be paid for over 10 instalments.

The spectrum sale is due to begin on 19 June 2019, with winning operators to start paying for their slots as of October 2020. Proceeds from the auction will be used to compensate the six digital TV broadcasters who recently told NBTC of their intention to return their broadcasting licences.

In addition, the sale of these spectrum slots is connected to the junta’s launch of the relief measures last month to ease the financial burden of the three existing 900MHz telecom operators.

As part of these relief measures, the NBTC will split the total upfront licence fee for the 900MHz spectrum will also be spread over 10 instalments increasing it from the current 4 instalments. There is however, a condition on these relief measures, and any 9000MHz licence holders avoiding the relief measures to purchase the 700MHz slots.

If any licence holders chose not to take up the junta relief measures and opt not to buy the 700MHz slots they will lose the longer instalment option and will have to pay as per the original payment schedule.

In June 2018, NBTC permitted the winners of the 1800MHz spectrum auction to swap its bands with other operators.

The NBTC has a total of 45MHz of the 700MHz bandwidth. After selling the 30MHz, it is expected to auction the remaining 15MHz next April. 

The NBTC will also auction the 2600MHz band, the 26GHz and 28GHz bands in October this year, and the remaining 35MHz bandwidth of 1800MHz band totalling seven slots next April.

The regulator will hold a public hearing on the draft terms of 700MHz action on 22 May.