The only business to enter a bid for Thailand’s orbital slot auction is sitting tenant Thaicom.
An auction, organised by the nation’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), has seen zero interest from other suitors. NBTC, in something of a last-ditch effort, has set August 28th as a new deadline for bids to be entered.
Satellite usage over Thailand is in decline as far as Thaicom’s revenues are concerned. In its latest Q2 numbers, released on August 2nd, Thaicom said that its latest trading for ‘Conventional’ capacity was down 13 per cent y-o-y. For its Broadband its y-o-y revenues slumped 15.1 per cent.
Thaicom’s details showed that reported revenue from its Thaicom 6, 7 and 8 satellites of 473 million Thai baht (about $14.7 million) for the three months ending June 30th, was down 11.3 per cent from a year ago but up 2.2 per cent from Q1 helped by new business from an unidentified “foreign customer”.
Thaicom stated: “The committed utilisation for conventional satellites, Thaicom 6, Thaicom 7, and Thaicom 8, as at the end of Q2/2021 was 63.7 per cent, slightly increased in comparison with Q1/2021 at 63.6 per cent.
The operator’s 16-year-old Thaicom 4/IPStar craft had a fill rate of just 18.1 per cent (and unchanged on the immediately previous quarter-year) but down 4.9 per cent y-o-y.
As far as the auction is concerned, Thaicom said: “Thaicom established TC Space Connect Company Limited (TCSC) with registered capital of Baht 100 million, wholly owned by Thaicom, to submit the application for bidding of the satellite orbital slot auction packages arranged by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) on July 5th 2021 and was the only applicant for the auction. To promote the competition in the satellite industry, NBTC decided to extend the submission period for the auction to approximately one month and set the new auction date on August 28th 2021. The Company hereby confirms its intention to participate in the auction, believing that our competency and extended business experiences will enhance our competitive advantage both domestic and international, and is ready to support the Thai satellite industry and increasing demand on its full potential.”
The dilemma facing Thaicom and the government is that Thaicom’s satellite concession expires in September. Thaicom has a pair of legal arguments running with the government.