NBTC sets tougher condition for satellite bid winners

NBTC sets tougher condition for satellite bid winners

The winning bidders of the upcoming satellite orbital slot auction will be obliged to reserve one transponder per broadcast satellite, or 400 megabits per second capacity per broadband satellite, for state use and public services without charge, says the telecom regulator.

The condition is seen as tougher than the previous satellite concession regime, in which the concessionaire was required to allot one transponder per concession, regardless of how many satellites it operated, and received a rental fee payment from the state for the capacity.

The new auction rule was established in the Royal Gazette earlier this month.

Air Marshal Thanapant Raicharoen, a commissioner of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said the auction is due to be held on Jan 8 next year.

The auction offers five slot packages, covering 50.5°East and 51°E with a starting price of 374 million baht; 78.5°E with a starting price of 360 million; 119.5°E and 120°E with a starting price of 397 million; 126°E with a starting price of 8 million; and 142°E with a starting price of 189 million.

The licences for orbital slot usage run for 20 years.

Interested companies are allowed to pick up bid documents at the NBTC office until the end of November and the information session about related document preparation will be held on Dec 2.

Interested firms are scheduled to submit their bid documents on Dec 27.

The list of qualified bidders will be announced on Jan 4 and then a mock auction held on Jan 7.

If there is only one bidder, the auction will be postponed to Jan 29, giving more time for other interested parties to apply.

AM Thanapant said the NBTC sees the importance of the allotment of the satellite capacity for state usage.

The auction condition also stipulates that if state agencies want to use more satellite capacity than stipulated in the condition, especially for the 119.5°E slot, they must not participate in the auction, he said.

They can negotiate with the winning bidders for the usage.

The winning bidders must allow the assigned state agencies to participate in the construction of a satellite gateway control centre to allow the agencies to manage the allotted capacity for the state tasks and train their personnel for future tasks.

AM Thanapant said the 119.5°E slot is expected to be the most desirable slot for bidders, followed by 78.5°E.

Last year's satellite orbital slot auction, set for Aug 28, was scrapped as TC Space Connect, wholly owned by Thaicom, was the sole bidder.

The NBTC then amended some bidding conditions for the new auction.

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