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Thailand Seeks to Sell Three 5G Licenses at Bt1.7 Billion Each

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BANGKOK – Thailand plans to sell three 700 megahertz spectrum licenses for a total of about 53 billion baht ($1.7 billion) as part of an effort to develop fifth-generation wireless services.

The sale at a fixed price of 17.6 billion baht each will take place on June 19, Takorn Tantasith, the secretary general of the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission, said at a briefing Tuesday in Bangkok. The goal is for each of the top operators to buy a permit, he said.

Thailand’s military government has offered to delay about $4.8 billion of payments due from next year for 900 megahertz licenses if operators take part in the 700 megahertz sale. Takorn said while some people may view the price for the latter as high, the regulator had to use previous auctions as a guide.

The nation’s top three providers of wireless services, Advanced Info Service Pcl, True Corp. and Total Access Communication Pcl, have filed for payment extensions but are seeking more clarity on the 700 megahertz sale.

Thai carriers have long been struggling under the weight of spectrum costs and a fight for market share. Their shares declined in the past five years even as the overall Thai stock market climbed.

By Natnicha Chuwiruch