Thailand to “sell” satellite orbital slots

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Thailand’s telecoms regulator has announced that it plans to begin awarding licences for the use of satellite orbit slots, currently used by existing satellites Thaicom 4 (or iPSTAR), 5 and 6, by early next year “to ensure orderly transfer of concessions that expire in 2021”.

Thaicom 4 operates from the orbital slot at 119.5 East and Thaicom 5 and 6 are co-located at 78.5 East.

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) also urged the country’s Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry to quickly draft regulations in connection with possessing satellites and ground-based teleports by next year to ensure a smooth transition before Thaicom’s concessions expire.

According to amended NBTC laws, which came into effect last year, the NBTC is the sole agency governing all related satellite businesses in the country, including arranging orbital slots in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union.

Air Marshall Thanapant Raicharoen, the NBTC’s deputy-director, said awarding licences for the use of orbital slots 119.5 and 78.5 East will be done by a “beauty contest” method, whereby the qualifications and competitiveness of the bidders will be taken into account in addition to bid prices.

The three Thaicom satellites are operated under a revenue sharing agreement with the government where a royalty of 5.75 per cent is handed over in addition to a 20.5 percent revenue share.


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