PTD consults on spectrum roadmap revision

26 Jun 2019

Myanmar’s Post and Telecommunications Department (PTD) has launched a second round of public consultation on its IMT and 5G spectrum roadmap, incorporating feedback from its initial consultation papers. Under the regulator’s revised plan, PTD will hold a multi-band spectrum auction early next year, with spectrum in the 700MHz and 1500MHz ranges to be made available in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Next year’s sale would comprise four lots, two of which would include 70MHz blocks of 2600MHz airwaves whilst the other two would feature a combination of 2300MHz and 3500MHz spectrum. The plan would allow any of the winners to immediately deploy 4G or 5G services, the PTD explained. The watchdog added, though, that it was wary of the lack of flexibility in the plan, expressing concern that the cellcos might not be able to afford the quantity of spectrum. As potential solutions, the PTD suggested it could allow operators to pay for the airwaves over a longer period, or it could initially offer a smaller amount of spectrum, with the remainder reserved for a period for the winners to purchase a later date. Unsold spectrum after that date could then be reallocated.

Regarding the 700MHz band, the regulator explained that it wanted to allow the equipment ecosystem for the band to develop further, highlighting other upcoming launches in that band elsewhere in the region. A slight delay, the PTD added, would allow operators time to decide whether to use the band for 5G coverage, rather than 4G. Further ahead, the regulator noted that by 2023 the 850MHz and 900MHz bands would be replanned prior to the expiry of E-GSM licences and the switch-off of legacy CDMA systems. The PTD also invited input on demand for spectrum in the 600MHz and 4.8GHz ranges. The deadline for comments on the draft roadmap is 12 July.