Thailand’s telecoms regulator to set aside 920-950 MHz as unlicenced IoT bands following the SKT/CAT 920-925 LoRa network launch earlier this year.
National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissioner Colonel Settapong Malisuwan said the regulator will allocate 920-950 MHz for IoT and issue licences to operators who charge for services on those IoT networks. This will be done before the NBTC board expires this October.
Colonel Settapong said that in the past IoT in the 920-950 MHz Band used to interfere with AIS’ 900-MHz spectrum, but with careful setting of certain parameters, the two can coexist and he said that the IoT band would be an unlicenced band.
In the great 4G auction re-run last May, Singtel-owned AIS subsidiary Advance Wireless Network (AWN) paid $2.2 billion (75.6 billion Baht) for 10 MHz of 900 Mhz, specifically 895 – 905 MHz paired with 940 – 950 MHz. This would seem to conflict with the NBTC announcement of allocation 920-950 MHz for IoT. TrueMove has 905-915 / 950-960 MHz so would not be affected by today’s announcement. The US LoRa IoT band is 902 to 928 MHz
Private IoT such as smart homes or smart farms will “probably not” require a licence though certain higher powered devices “may” need a licence under the new NBTC IoT rules which have yet to be formally announced.
However anyone providing an IoT platform which charges users, whether on licenced or unlicenced bands, will need a licence.
IoT networks that collect data and have a revenue model from reselling that data rather than charging users directly will not need a licence.
Back in February SK Telecom and state telco CAT Telecom launched pilot IoT networks in Bangkok and Phuket. At the time the licensing arrangement was not made clear. Disruptive Asia asked SK Telecom for clarification and received a statement that the spectrum used for the LoRa network was 920-925 MHz and that SK Telecom is the “official network operator” for the service which operates as a trial from April to September.
Disruptive.Asia contacted CAT Telecom PR as well for clarification on the band and how SK could be an operator under Thailand’s restrictive frequency act and telecom business act but their PR deferred to an executive who never replied.
AIS PR was contacted on the spectrum clash and said that the company has not made any official statement yet though they are aware of the comments from the NBTC.