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Thailand enters 5G technology era

Thailand is leading the ASEAN community in 5G technology beginning with Chulalongkorn University and the Eastern Economic Corridor project from next year.

Olivier Languepin

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The Thai Government’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) says it wants Thailand to be one of the first Asian countries to make the jump to 5G.

Thailand is leading the ASEAN community in 5G technology beginning with Chulalongkorn University and the Eastern Economic Corridor project from next year.

5G will change everything. What 2, 3 and 4G have improved on, 5G will revolutionise and open up even more online possibilities.

5G’s lightning speed will operate in almost real time – that would allow you to download high quality movies in seconds.

But Thailand has some of the highest spectrum prices in the world for a country of its size.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is planning to award 700-megahertz licences to operators this month with a reserve price of 17.58 billion baht per 10MHz bandwidth.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will gain Bt56.444 billion from the sale yesterday of three slots of the 700MHz spectrum to three telecom operators, according to The Nation

 The three buyers – subsidiaries of Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Corp – picked up each of the 700MHz slots when the watchdog put them on sale yesterday.

Further auctions are planned for 5G spectrum on the 2.6-gigahertz and mmWave in the coming year.

Thai telecoms companies have been reluctant to invest and develop 5G, as some fear the country is unprepared for the new generation and do not see adequate demand for pricey infrastructure.

5G’s speeds will be revolutionary and open up the internet to new and emerging industries, but it has a distance problem and can only be transmitted over shorter distances than 4G.

Thus 5G will require massive infrastructure investment to be deployed in a country like Thailand.

The companies lobbied the government through the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to extend their last payment of licence fees to provide relief from exorbitant payments in exchange for joining the bid for the 5G spectrum auction.

Thailand’s mobile ecosystem generated 4.3% of GDP or US$21.1 billion in value added in 2018, according to GSMA. This could grow to up to $24.5 billion in 2023 if the government sets the right policies, the group said.

The government in the form of taxation already retains over one-third of the value added by the mobile ecosystem in Thailand.

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