Thailand extends operators’ payment period to push 5G spectrum

Thailand on Thursday extended mobile network operators’ payment period for spectrum licenses in an attempt to boost participation in an upcoming 5G spectrum auction, Reuters reported.
Thailand telecom operator revenue 2018Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha invoked Article 44 of the constitution on Thursday. It is an executive order that allows the junta to push through policy, citing competition affecting mobile operators’ ability to pay for 900 MHz license, and therefore, was necessary to amend the payment period.

The order would benefit telecom operators such as Advanced Info Service (AIS), True and Total Access Communication, which is owned by Norway’s Telenor.

The changes in the payment period could help draw future bids for the 700 MHz and 2600 MHz auctions and pave way for 5G technology.

National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) previously said it plans to hold a 700 MHz spectrum auction in December.
Thailand broadband penetration 2018“Details of the payment extension will be available on April 17,” NBTC Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith told reporters.

Operators may notify the NBTC within 30 days, and can divide payments into 10 equal installments over 10 years beginning 2020.

Total Access in November won one spectrum license for 38 billion baht or $1.20 billion.

True and AIS, 23 percent owned by SingTel, won their licenses in 2016 for about $2 billion each and have since made partial payments.