Sunday, December 08, 2019

NBTC nods to draft licensing rules for 5G spectrum bands

Nov 12. 2019
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By THE NATION

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The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) board today (November 12) approved the draft rules on licensing the spectrum bands of 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2,600MHz, and 26GHz.

The board also approved the timeframe for the bands' auctions.

It has also approved the NBTC's frequency management plans of 2,500MHz, and 2,690MHz.

The NBTC will auction 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2,600MHz, and 26GHz in an single event this year to provide 5G wireless broadband service.

It will auction three licences of the 700MHz, each containing 2x5MHz bandwidth at a starting price of Bt8.792 billion each. The bidders are required to place a guarantee of Bt2.637 billion. They can raise the price by Bt440 million per time.

The licence term is 15 years. The total payment for the licence is divided into 10 installments, each at 10 per cent of the winning price. The NBTC does not cap the maximum number each contender can bid for this licence.

It will auction seven licences of 1800MHz, each containing 2x5MHz bandwidth at starting price of Bt12.486 billion each. The bidders are required to place a guarantee of Bt4.994 billion. They can raise the price by Bt25 million per time. The licence is good for 15 years.

The NBTC caps the maximum number each contender can bid for this licence at four. The upfront payment is divided into three installments, beginning with 50 per cent in the first installment, followed by 25 per cent in each of the second and last installments.

The winners of this band are obliged to start providing service to 40 per cent of the country's population in the first four years before rising to 50 per cent within eight years.

The watchdog will also call a bid for 19 licences of the 2,600MHz, each containing 10MHz bandwidth at price of Bt1.862 billion each.

The bidders are required to place guarantee of Bt1.862 billion. They can raise the price by Bt93 million per time. The licence is good for 15 years.

Each bidder can take a maximum of 10 licences of this band. The bidders are required to pay an upfront of 10 per cent of the total winning price in the first year and enjoy a grace period during the second to fourth year. They will pay 15 per cent annually of the balance in the fifth to tenth year.

The winners are obliged to provide service covering 40 per cent of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) within one year and 50 per cent of the business zones in several major cities within four years, including Bangkok and Greater Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nakon Ratsima, Khon Khaen, Songkhla, and Phuket.

The NBTC will auction 27 licences of the 26GHz, each containing 100MHz bandwidth at price of Bt423 million each. The bidders will place a guarantee of Bt507.6 million each. They can raise price at Bt22 million per time. The licence is valid for 15 years.

Each bidder can bid for a maximum of 12 licences. They will have to pay the upfront at one time.

The NBTC will hold a hearing on the auction rule draft from November 13 until December 12. It is expected to be published in the Royal Gazette on December 27.

The NBTC will invite bidders from January 2 to February 3. The multiple band auction will be held on February 16 with the licences expected to be awarded in March. 

Bid winners are expected to start providing services in some areas in July next year.

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