Thailand slashes satellite slot auction prices to attract bidders

Picture courtesy of Naewna

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is gearing up for a new auction of satellite orbital slots at 50.5° East, 51°E, and 142°E slated for August 23 to September 7, targeting slots that remained unsold in a previous bid. The amended draft for the auction conditions, approved on May 13 by the NBTC board, aims to attract bidders with more favourable terms.

Pachara Naripthaphan, an executive advisor to the NBTC chairman, noted that the conditions have been revised following the January auction, where these slots did not find buyers. At that auction, Space Tech Innovation, an affiliate of Thaicom, secured two packages for US$11.4 million and US$12.5 million, respectively, while National Telecom clinched another package at a modest US$272,000.

The NBTC has been proactive in amending the auction framework, extending the satellite launch deadline from three to five years post-license acquisition and reducing the starting bid prices significantly to avoid losing the country’s rights to the slots as per International Telecommunications Union regulations, said Pachara, expressing concern over the potential lack of competition.

“The regulator is still concerned over possible bid failures as the number of interested bidders might be fewer than the conditions stipulate.”

An NBTC source, who preferred to remain unidentified, revealed that the starting price for the 50.5°E and 51°E slots has been slashed to US$1.23 million from US$11.22 million, while the 142°E slot now starts at US$690,000, down from US$5.67 million. This dramatic price cut reflects the challenges in commercialising these slots, which primarily cover the Caribbean and Middle East regions.

Moreover, the revised conditions include a clause that mandates the winning bidders to contribute a minimum of 2.5% of their total revenue back to the state. Stringent penalties are in place for those who fail to meet the launch and business operation criteria, facing fines equivalent to the original 2023 starting auction prices of US$11.22 million for the 50.5°E and 51°E slots, and US$5.67 million for the 142°E slots, reported Bangkok Post.

With these changes, the NBTC hopes to successfully allocate these valuable orbital positions, ensuring that the country retains its rights and fosters growth in the satellite communications sector.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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