Thailand’s ongoing political unrest has stalled its 4G auctions, with the country’s military ruling council requesting that the upcoming spectrum licensing process be postponed.
A 25MHz block of spectrum in the 1.8GHz band was scheduled for auction in August, with another sale due to take place later on in the year (a 17.5MHz block in the 900MHz band). The regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecoms Commission) is looking at making the terms of the auction more transparent.
Market leader AIS’s chief executive Wichian Mektrakarn said that there was currently no indication of when the auctions would be rescheduled for. AIS’s shares dropped 3% following the announcement that the auctions had been suspended, although fellow operator True’s shares rose by 11%.
AIS is the only Thai provider that does not yet offer 4G services, despite having the highest proportion of customers with compatible devices. It leads the market with 42.4 million subscribers, followed by DTAC with 28.2 million and True with 23.1 million.