NBTC expects Thais to use 5G by July 2020

The NBTC Secretary summarized 4 obstacles that Thailand is facing with 5G technology implementation but insists that they are currently resolving and expects to successfully launch by July 2020 under the Roadmap 5G

Mr. Thakorn Tantasith, the NBTC Secretary mentions in “Thailand’s 5G Roadmap in ASEAN” seminar that Thailand is likely to use 5G technology in 2020 definitely.  Based on analysis, the following 4 obstacles should be reconsidered and seriously studied.

1 Too high bidding prices for allotted spectrum – in consideration of leading universities’ studies, the bid starting price of 2,600 MHz spectrum translating into 190 MHz (19 licenses) should start at Baht 1,862 million per 10 MHz each license while the bid starting price of Baht 300 million per 100 MHz each license at 26 GHz spectrum translating into 2,700 MHz (27 licenses) are deemed reasonable compared with other global prices.  NBTC has supported the mentioned bid starting prices.

2 Guidelines are not favourable to private operators’ investment point of views – New guidelines allow the operators 3 years grace period of license payment fee and for 15 concession years if these conditions are met ie the investment in EEC areas in one year; the development of Smart City within 4 years and the usage of 5G technology under IMT-2020.

3 Utilisation of 3G & 4G are under estimated – Based on the report of GSMA, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are only the countries with 4G fully utilization.   Although USA and EU countries are not utilized 4G at full capacity, they are launching 5G services.  Surprisingly, Thailand shows the average high utilisation of 4G network of 9GB per person per month,  compared with the average global utilization of 5GB per person per month.

4 Working among government units and the government on 5G – Considering intensive progresses todate and the alert of government sectors, this leads to various pilot testing with telecom operators.

Mr. Thakorn views that the studies and analysis show the possibilities of 5G implementation in Thailand.

Indicative bid and timeline of 5G will be on allotted multi-bands of total 56 licenses; comprising 700 MHz bandwidth with 3 licenses, 1800 MHz bandwidth with 7 licenses, 2600 MHz bandwidth with 19 licenses, and 2.6 GHz bandwidth with 27 licenses.  By October 2019, working team will propose drafted guidelines and for 30 day public hearing during 13 November to 12 December 2019.  By 27 December 2019, it will be enacted into the Royal Gazette and for bid announcement date by 2 January 2020.  16 February 2020 is target bid date and the issuance of new licenses should be released by end February 2020.  By March 2020, the licenses will be given to the successful bidders.   First 5G launch will be commercial run by July 2020 in Thailand. 

Mr. Thakorn believes that other some countries are rolling out 5G not systematically while Thailand leads the way as same as those developed countries eg Japan and South Korea.  Also, he believes that Thai telecom operators are accelerating their paces to implement 5G similar to other countries.

Based on the studies of Surray University in UK, it is forecasted that GDP will grow by 5.68% per year during 2020-2036 by 5G utilization, breaking into 1.45% from high speed internet and 4.23% from automated systems whose benefits are in various sectors eg smart farming, smart manufacturing, smart hospital, smart logistics, smart government etc.