THURSDAY, February 29, 2024

NBTC to hold auction for five satellite slot packages early next year

NBTC to hold auction for five satellite slot packages early next year

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will hold bidding for five satellite slot packages on January 6 next year, expecting to draw at least two or three bids, an NBTC member said on Tuesday.

NBTC commissioner Thanaphan Raicharoen said the watchdog’s directive on regulations for approving the licences of satellite slot packages have been published in the Royal Gazette and have taken effect.

With the directive coming into effect, the NBTC will on January 8 auction off licences for accessing the five satellite slot packages. Certain packages will have more than satellite networks as defined by coding numbers of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The five satellite slot packages to be offered for leasing by Thailand are:

● 50.5 degrees East slot with C1 and N1 networks and 51 degrees East with 51 network. Bidding starts at 374 million baht.

● 78.5 degrees East with A2B and 78.5E networks. Bidding starts at 360 million baht.

● 119.5 degrees East with IP1, P3 and 119.5E networks and 120 degrees East with 120E network. Bidding starts at 397 million baht.

● 126 degrees East with 126E network. Bidding starts at 8 million baht.

● 142 degrees East with G3K and 142E networks. Bidding starts at 189 million baht.

Thanaphan said the NBTC has allowed interested bidders to receive bidding documents since November 4 and the documents will be available until the end of this month.

The NBTC will hold an info session on December 2 to explain how bidders could prepare documents for filing for the bidding.

Interested bidders would be allowed to submit their bid documents on December 27.

Thanaphan said the NBTC would spend a week from December 27 to January 4 to review the qualifications of the bidders and the list of qualified bidders would be announced on January 4.

A mock auction will be held on January 7 before the real auction will take place the following day, Thanaphan added.

But if there were only one bidder, the NBTC will extend the auction by at least 14 days.

In that scenario, the NBTC will hold a new round of bidding documents distribution from January 6 to 11 and a new info session will be held on January 12 while a new bidding document submission round will be held on January 19.

The NBTC will check the qualifications of bidders in the new round from January 20 to 26 and announce the names of those who qualified on January 27 and hold a mock auction on January 28 and a real auction on January 29.

He said the NBTC has listened to public opinions from earlier hearings and it decided to hold the auction in terms of packages to allow newcomers to participate in the auction.

He said qualifications for packages of satellite networks would be different so that smaller firms could participate in bidding for networks that would require less advanced technologies, especially the package for the 126 degrees East slot.

Thanaphan added that the winner of each package would also be required to allow the government to use one broadcast transponder free of charge and use 400 Mbps data broadband channel per each satellite.

“The NBTC hopes that the revised regulations would attract two of three bidders at least,” Thanaphan said.

He added that the NBTC wants to auction off the rights to use the satellite orbit slots to protect them from being taken back by the ITU if they were left unused.

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