NBTC to auction 11 telecom licences in next 5 years

Economy August 03, 2016 01:00

By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
THE NATION

THERE ARE 11 wireless-telecommunication spectrum licences waiting for auction over the next five years, Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission said during a meeting of the Asean Telecommunication



He said the NBTC’s five-year (2016-20) plan called for licence auctions for four spectra: 2.6 gigahertz, 1,800 megahertz, 850 MHz and 700MHz.

The 2.6GHz band is currently in the possession of a state-owned public broadcaster, MCOT. The NBTC is in the process of negotiating the return of the entire band – a total of 190MHz. The new NBTC law that is expected to take effect this year may allow compensation for government agencies currently holding spectrum.

Takorn said that no less than 70MHz of the 190MHz of the 2.6GHz spectrum would be reallocated for mobile communications by 2017. The NBTC expects to grant at least three or four licences, each of 20-25MHz, for fourth-generation wireless service.

As for the 1,800MHz and 850MHz bands that are still under concession contracts from state-owned enterprise CAT Telecom, both agreements will expire in September 2018.

He said there were 45MHz on the 1,800MHz band and 10MHz on the 850MHz band. The NBTC is planning to auction these six months before the concessions end, or by the first quarter of 2018, so as to avoid service disruption. The preparation process is expected to begin in April 2018.

The NBTC expects to allocate three licences for the 1,800MHz band and one for 850MHz, or four licences in total.

The World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) in 2015 officially endorsed Thailand’s position to allocate the 700MHz band for mobile communications. Currently, it is being used by analog television channels.

Takorn said that after the switchover to digital television is complete, the NBTC planned to allocate 45MHz, divided into three licences, in the 700MHz band for mobile telecommunications in 2020.

The NBTC recently auctioned two licences on 1,800MHz and two on 900MHz. The two auctions raised more than Bt230 billion. In total, four licences were awarded, two 18-year licences for the 1,800MHz band and two 15-year licences for the 900MHz band.

The NBTC held its first auction in 2012, for licences on the 2.1GHz spectrum. That auction raised more than Bt42 billion.

The NBTC office will propose the five-year road map to the commission’s new board, which will replace the one in October next year.

During the ARTC meeting, representatives of telecom regulatory agencies from Asean countries are discussing their spectrum plans and the harmonised spectrum planning and management that Asean member states will collectively implement.