Thaicom opens up to satellite competition
November 27, 2019
By Chris Forrester
Thailand’s Thaicom has confirmed it is to free up its C-band spectrum (3400-3700 MHz range) and to allow the bandwidth to be auctioned for use by the country’s 5G networks. The nation is also to welcome foreign satellite operators to manage and operate Thaicom’s existing satellites and broadcast frequencies.
A presentation last week organised by the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) in Bangkok told delegates that Thaicom’s franchised monopoly (‘concession’) would end on September 11th 2021 when all its satellites would be “transferred to the Thai government who will then select a satellite operator to manage and operate these assets”.
Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecoms Commission (NBTC) would assist and advise in the selection of an operator. It is far from clear as to whether a new operator would need to have a base in Thailand. One option is also for Thaicom to itself be the new licensee under a new period of operation.
The freeing up of C-band, currently used for both DTH and VSAT, will see Thaicom compensated said government officials.
Space Intel Report says that some 100 Thai TV channels use C-band, plus non-Thai channels, which beam signals to about 15 million homes.