The auction saw all of the nation’s big players take part, purchasing a wide range of spectrum

Thailand is pushing to become South East Asia’s first 5G-capabale country, with its first spectrum auction yesterday raising over $3 billion through the sale of 48 licences.

Unsurprisingly, it was Thailand’s largest MNO, Advanced Info Service (AIS), that snapped up the largest portion of licences available, winning 23 of the 48 allocated.

Spectrum was available in three bands: 700 MHz, 2.6 GHz, and26 GHz.

Three licences were sold in the low band spectrum in blocks of 2×5 MHz, which proved to be particularly hard fought, raising $1.65 billion.

AIS won one licence, having beat out its nearest rival, True Corporation, in a bidding war that reportedly lasted over three hours.

The two other low-band licences were secured by state-owned CAT Telecom, which is due to be merged with TOT, another state-run company, to form National Telecom.

In the ever-attractive 2.6 GHz band, 19 10-MHz blocks were sold, divided almost equally between AIS (10) and True (9). CAT once again would have liked to purchase spectrum in this band but could simply not compete with its larger opponents. This band raised $1.18 billion. 

Finally, there were 26 licences for 100-MHz blocks of millimeter wave, 26 GHz spectrum. Once again, AIS was the biggest winner, taking 12, while True won eight, TOT won four, and DTAC won two. In total, this band raised around $370 million.

“Thailand’s 5G technology is expected to help drive the economy by at least 177 billion baht this year, accounting for 1.02 per cent of the country’s GDP,” said Takorn Tantasith, secretary general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. This figure is expected to double by 2021.

Barring any complications, Thailand is well on its way to becoming the first country in South East Asia to launch 5G commercially, with rollouts expected around June or July next year.


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