BANGKOK: Thailand has raised quite USD 3.2 billion in an auction of 5G licences, as operators race to snaffle high-frequency spectrums needed for a billboard rollout of the next-generation technology.
A subsidiary of Advanced Info Services, the country's top mobile operator, dominated Sunday's bidding, securing 23 of the nearly 50 licences up for grabs.
Governments round the world are rolling out 5G networks, which supply vastly faster mobile internet speeds.
Washington has been pressing countries to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from providing equipment for the networks, saying it's a security risk.
Key US allies in Europe, notably Britain and France, have said they're going to not ban Huawei but will impose restrictions.
Thailand, like other Southeast Asian countries with close ties to China, has mostly shied faraway from the difficulty . Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) hailed the auction as a "good day" for the country.
"We are getting a 5G country, which can help Thailand to steer in (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations)," NBTC Secretary General Thakorn Tantasit said during a statement.
It is not clear when the 5G network are going to be unrolled , but Fitch Ratings said Advanced Info Services was clearly aiming for this year.
"They would really like to be the primary mover of 5G rollout," said Obboon Thirachit, director of the credit ratings agency in Thailand.
"In the past, one among the keys to competitiveness is that the spectrum they hold and therefore the speed of introducing the new technology".