True recruits Ericsson for 5G trial; 2.6GHz auction now likely in 2018

4 Apr 2017

Thai telecoms group True Corp has reportedly enlisted Swedish telecoms vendor Ericsson to oversee what it hopes will be the country’s first 5G trial. According to the Bangkok Post, the trial will utilise Massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) functionality and a time division duplex (TDD) configuration. True Corp’s chief network operations officer Adisak Prasongsup told the newspaper: ‘Concerning the 5G technology trial, we are collaborating with Ericsson to design and develop the first technology of its kind for wireless internet networks. Thanks to Massive MIMO TDD, the 5G technology we are developing will be about 20 times faster than [our] current 4.5G technology. Everything is almost ready, and we will be rolling out this state-of-the-art 5G service soon.’

In related news, the Bangkok Post reports that Thailand’s planned auction of 2.6GHz spectrum – ostensibly to support 5G technology – is now likely to be pushed back to 2018 because of a lack of rules relating to the compensation of state-owned enterprises for the return of spectrum. In December 2016 the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said it would auction off 80MHz in the 2.6GHz band, which is owned but unused by state-owned public broadcaster MCOT, by June this year. While the broadcaster has indicated it is willing to return 80MHz of its 190MHz 2.6GHz holdings, it expects compensation. However, under the current telecoms act, the NBTC is not authorised to compensate a state agency for returning spectrum. An amended NBTC draft bill allowing MCOT to be compensated is expected to take effect in May, although government personnel have suggested that a 2017 auction is now highly unlikely.