NBTC Secretary-General: ‘Overall 5G network investment in Thailand could reach more than $4 billion this year’

Thailand’s telecoms regulator The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held the country’s 5G spectrum auction over the weekend, raising 100.52 billion baht ($3.2 billion) as operators grabbed 48 licenses ahead of the 5G commercial rollout in Thailand, slotted for later this year. The auctions lasted more than five hours and included 19 rounds of bidding.

As expected, Thailand’s largest mobile operator Advanced Info Service went home with the most licenses: 23 across all three spectrum bands. The operator now has one license for the 700 MHz range, 10 for the 2600 MHz band and 12 for the 26 GHz band.

True Corporation the second-largest operator obtained 17 licenses—nine from 2600 MHz range and the rest from 26 GHz band—while Total Access Communication, the third-largest operator, walked away with two, both from the 26 GHz range.

New to spectrum auctions, state-run firms CAT Telecom and TOT, which are to be merged to become National Telecom company (NT), participated for the first time, winning a combined six licenses, with TOT getting four and CAT getting two.

All of TOT’s licenses are from the 26 GHz range, while CAT’s are both from the 700 MHz range, which CAT president Sanphachai Hunanandana called an important win for the company because it may help reduce the operator’s cellular cell site investment, adding that the 700MHz range is considered as a backbone network capable of transmitting broader signals compared to higher bands.

DTAC, owned by Norway’s Telenor Group, was only interested in the high band 26 GHz auction, winning two out of the possible 26 licenses for 100 MHz blocks.

Sharad Mehrotra, CEO of DTAC, said that the addition of high-band spectrum to the DTAC’s portfolio, which already includes mid and low bands, will allow the operator to provide the high-quality data experience that will be critical in future networks.

According to the auction terms, those who won 26 GHz licenses are required to pay the full amount within one year, and those who secured licenses in the 700 MHz and 2600 MHz bands are required to pay the government over a 10-year period.

NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith has previously  estimated that overall 5G network investment in Thailand could reach more than $4 billion this year and more than $6 billion in 2021.

The post Thailand raises $3.2 billion in 5G spectrum auctions, 48 licenses sold appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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