December 2, 2019 – Participating in the public hearing to be organized by NBTC on December 3rd, dtac will make a number of recommendations to NBTC regarding the multi-band spectrum auction scheduled in February 2020.
Mr. Marcus Adaktusson, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, dtac said, “A well-designed and well-timed spectrum auction is critical to 5G deployment in Thailand. While we welcome the proposed multi-band auction model, we propose adjusting the timing of the auction to allow for inclusion of the 3500MHz band. This to allow bidders to acquire the most efficient spectrum portfolios for 5G deployment.”
dtac’s recommendations are designed to promote sustainable 5G in Thailand; the main points are as follows:
- Adjust auction timing to include 3500 MHz
- dtac welcomes a multi-band auction model, however timing should be adjusted to allow for inclusion of 3500MHz to allow bidders to acquire the most efficient portfolios for 5G deployment. Technically, spectrum in the 2600MHz and the 3500MHz band could be substituted for 5G since they have similar properties. It should be noted that 3500MHz spectrum is the key band for the global 5G ecosystem.
- Set spectrum caps in a way which avoids potential market distortion
- Given the 190MHz of the 2600MHz spectrum will be allocated at the auction, dtac suggests to assign spectrum caps in the 2600MHz spectrum band to avoid potential market distortion and allow sufficient number of operators to contribute to 5G development in Thailand. NBTC may want to consider some flexible caps based on the number of bidders.
- Provide clarifications on potential interference, usage restrictions and roll-out obligations –
- 20MHz of the 2600MHz is currently being used. NBTC should provide relevant clarifications in terms of interference and usage restriction risks to enable proper valuation of the auction ed spectrum.
- Set reserve prices at a level which allows for infrastructure investments
- The proposed reserve price for the 10MHz of spectrum in the 2600MHz band (1.862 billion baht per license) is at the higher end of international benchmark and there is a clear risk that much needed investments in network infrastructure will be impeded by those high prices of spectrum. The 1800MHz spectrum band (12.486 billion baht per license) is priced many times higher than international benchmark that will definitely increase the risk of a failed auction. The reserve prices of the 1800MHz spectrum auctions in 2018 and 2020 respectively are higher than any others in the world, according to the GSMA Spectrum Release Plan Thailand.
- Ensure significant financial guarantees to prevent unserious bidders
- dtac advocates stricter conditions including requiring significant financial guarantees from all participants.
GETTING KEY BUILDING BLOCKS IN PLACE
Access to mobile network infrastructure and simplifying the process of infrastructure deployment should be accelerated in a systematic way, e.g. licensing for network base stations should be automated. Industry regulators should play a constructive role to incentivize more infrastructure sharing and modernize rules and regulations relating to mobile network infrastructure and business, industry-related.
“It’s not just a question of whether mobile network operators are 5G-ready. We must also ask whether the country itself, including regulatory regimes and infrastructure, is 5G ready. The government has a strategic role to stimulate infrastructure investments and cross-industry collaboration for business demand shift to 5G technology.” added Marcus.