Thai households to receive Digital TV coupon by June-July

22 million Thai households to get free digital TV coupon

According to a source of NBTC’s broadcasting committee, each of Thailand’s 22 million households will receive a digital TV coupon worth THB 1,200 ($37) which they will able to use towards the purchase of TV sets, cable or satellite TV set-top boxes, instead of only DVB-T2 set-top boxes and antennas as initially planned.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) could not conclude on the value of the coupon and and its implementation as the board wanted to ensure that the coupons for digital TV would be transparent.

Concerning the issues whether the coupons could be used with pay TV operators is still pending consideration.

The operators of cable and satellite TV have to apply for a set of rules if they want to sell their set-top boxes under the coupon scheme.

  • The set-top boxes must be able to provide both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD).
  • The set-top boxes must come with a 3-year warranty.
  • Channel numbering for terrestrial digital TV channels must be in accordance with the channel allocation determined by NBTC where the first 12 channels are for the upcoming digital community channels and the rest up to channel 36 are for the 24 commercial digital channels.
  • The operators must apply for a NBTC license.

The sudden change to also include cable or satellite TV set-top boxes in the coupon scheme, is seen as a way to try to bring balance in the Thai broadcasting industry by supporting new digital TV as well as existing satellite TV operators.

If NBTC only provided coupons for digital TV set-top boxes, many believe that the satellite TV set-top box operators would not survive in the broadcasting market, following the enactment of the must-carry rule.

The broadcasting committee will convene on Monday and submit to the NBTC panel for approval on Wednesday. NBTC’s chairman, Colonel Dr. Natee said that yesterday’s meeting discussed the details of the scheme including the coupon price value and its implementation, adding however the meeting was not able to form an appropriate solution, as the matter requires intensive and thorough examination.

Initially the value of the coupons is set at 1,200 baht each, he said, saying the scheme would require a budget of 27.4 billion THB. However, vendors have suggested the value of the coupon should be 2,000 THB to allow residents to gain better devices and enhance their digital TV reception.

It is expected that the distribution of the coupons will start June/July – and will be distributed via Thailand Post in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima and Songkhla province.

Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan’s expertise includes the development and execution of growth strategies, market insights, trends and opportunities, new business models and strategies
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