Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
Thaicom considers joining study for unsold orbital slots

SET-listed Thaicom is considering whether to join the planned allocation for the rights to use the remaining unsold orbital slots of 50.5° East and 142° East. Chief Executive Patompob Suwansiri stated that Thaicom will participate if the licence requirements are changed from the auction conditions.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) held an auction for satellite orbital slots on January 15, with five packages up for bidding. Thaicom affiliate, Space Tech Innovation, successfully bid for the second and third packages, while the first and fifth packages remained unsold. The NBTC is currently revising the licensing terms and conditions of the January auction.

Thaicom is monitoring these developments and hopes that improved conditions will attract participants to the planned allocation of the unsold slots. However, Thaicom’s final decision to participate will depend on the completion of the revised licensing conditions by the NBTC. The company plans to conduct a feasibility study on investment and business cases before making a final determination.

Thaicom expects some adjustments to the licensing requirements to reduce the burden on winning bidders. Although Thaicom is already constructing three satellites for the 119.5° orbital slot it won in the auction, they may consider joining the new licensing if the study determines that the new conditions are worthwhile.

Thaicom sees potential in the 50.5° E and 142° E orbital slots for serving foreign markets. The 50.5° E position covers the Middle East, North Africa, and India, while the 142° E slot covers the Pacific sea and lesser land areas.

The NBTC expects to allocate the remaining two unsold orbital slots through a beauty contest method, where licences will be awarded to firms with the most promising business proposals and benefits to the state. Interested bidders would be required to pay only a reserve price for each slot. The NBTC board plans to study this conclusion and aims to allocate the two unsold slots by the end of the year to prevent cancellation under the rules of the International Telecommunication Union.