Thaicom to exit 3400-3700MHz range

Thaicom to exit 3400-3700MHz range

Satellite service provider Thaicom Plc has agreed to vacate the 3400-3700MHz spectrum range to free it up for auction to use for 5G wireless networks.

Thaicom chief executive Anant Kaewruamgvongs said yesterday that the company agreed to cooperate with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on the spectrum recall because the regulator has the authority to do so to ensure optimum public benefit under the NBTC law.

The regulator will determine a compensation figure for parties affected by the spectrum recall using a study by three academic institutions appointed by the NBTC.

"Thaicom management acknowledges that the NBTC and Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry are in talks about spectrum recall," Mr Anant said.

The DES Ministry owns Thaicom's concessions for satellites 4, 5 and 6. The concessions end in September 2021.

Mr Anant said the company needs to talk with the NBTC's advisory team on all related issues, including the impact of spectrum recall, the transition period and details of compensation.

"Spectrum release and transfer need to be discussed in detail," he said.

The 3400-3700MHz range is mainly used by Thaicom 5.

Mr Anant said the compensation details could be concluded either before or after the concessions end.

The NBTC office must appoint three academic institutions as its advisory team to help hammer out the compensation figure, with the timeline of the spectrum recall affecting Thaicom's corporate clients and satellite TV viewers.

"Thaicom has to wait for an official letter from the DES Ministry and the NBTC, as well as the discussion framework and study from the NBTC's advisory team, which will be appointed in the near future," Mr Anant said.

The NBTC announced last week that it would hold a four-spectrum auction for 5G on Feb 16. The ranges are 700MHz, 1800MHz, 2600MHz and 26GHz.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said earlier that to make the 3400-3700MHz range available for auction would cost the NBTC 3-4 billion baht, including adjustment of related equipment and compensation for satellite dish viewers using Thaicom's rented transponders.

Thaicom reported revenue of 3.7 billion baht in the first nine months of the year, down 18% year-on-year, mainly from a slowdown in satellite business and related services.

The company faced a net loss of 281 million baht in the first nine months, partly due to lower profit sharing from subsidiary Lao Telecom.


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