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.