Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has announced that it will complete the auction for 4G radio spectrum within seven months of receiving the go-ahead from the military junta.
The NBTC has said they will ask the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) next month to approve the auction for 4G in Thailand which intends to sell off 1,800 MHz licenses in July or August of 2015, later followed by the 900 MHz frequency band of network company Advanced Info Services (AIS).
4G (also known as LTE or Long Term Evolution) services in Thailand are currently very limited in terms of availability – officially, only trials have taken place, but that hasn’t stopped companies such as True advertising 4G all around the country and on its billboards and posters in shopping malls everywhere.
Outside of Bangkok, most people don’t have any kind of access to 4G networks at all, and holidaymakers coming for a few weeks tend to be surprised that only 3G is available in most places. 3G speeds are much lower than 4G, which means that surfing the Internet and downloading apps and content takes so much longer.
If you take a look at websites from the main mobile network companies, you’ll notice that they are already advertising 4G in Thailand – such as DTAC’s TriNet service, but it’s still early days for most of the country.
The operators themselves have been clamouring for the auction to go ahead, as it obviously has enormous benefits (and revenues) for consumers, as well as the country as Thailand currently lags behind much of the rest of the world when it comes to 4G rollout.
Let’s hope that 4G becomes commonplace in Thailand in the next year or two – it would be great to see decent network speeds everywhere, as well as the investment in communications infrastructure to position Thailand as competitive in the coming decade.