Spectrum auctions will raise $15.4 billion for Thailand 4.0: NBTC

thailand 4.0
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Thailand’s telecoms regulator has promised to rake in $15.4 billion (540 billion baht) in the next round of auctions as part of the Thailand 4.0 vision to make Thailand the digital leader in ASEAN by 2020.

National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission Director-General Takorn Tantasit said that the regulator would auction three or four licenses for the 2600-MHz band and three licenses for 1800-MHz band this year, one license for 850-MHz in 2018 and three licenses for 700-MHz in 2020.

The NBTC secretary-general also promised that every village in Thailand will have high-speed Internet by next year thanks to the Digital Economy’s village broadband project with state telco TOT.

Thailand 4.0 will also feature fingerprint registration of SIM cards, which an earlier report estimated will cost $57 (2,000 baht) per subscriber, or about ten months’ ARPU, to be paid for by the telcos out of the Universal Service Obligation Fund. Takorn said that the new fingerprint-secure SIM database would also be used for public Wi-Fi authentication and be shared with financial services authorities for e-Commerce mobile banking and the government’s e-money initiative PromptPay.

The NBTC will support Thailand 4.0 startups by helping villagers sell things via e-commerce and promote eco-tourism and homestay tourism, he said, despite authorities having serious issues with operations such as Airbnb and the Immigration Bureau requiring anyone who allows a foreign national to stay on their property to register them with the government.

Takorn said that without these initiatives by the NBTC, Thailand 4.0 would not succeed – without the Internet, there is no e-commerce and no fintech, and thus it is imperative that the NBTC wire up every village with broadband so the country will become the digital leader of ASEAN, he said.

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Don Sambandaraksa
About Don Sambandaraksa 110 Articles

Don is a contributing editor for Disruptive.Asia. For most of the 00s, he was the face of Database, the enterprise tech section of the Bangkok Post, and later covered Thailand and the region for Telecom Asia. Before becoming a journalist he was a civil servant at Thailand’s ICT Ministry. He is currently studying for an M.Sc. in Digital Currency at the University of Nicosia. He is also an avid proponent of strong encryption and Bitcoin.

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