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Thai 3G auction taking place next week

The long-awaited auction will finally take place next Tuesday with no new foreign operators looking to take part in the spectrum sales process.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The much-anticipated 3G spectrum auction in Thailand will be held next week with no new foreign entrants taking part.

A Reuters report Tuesday cited the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) as saying the subsidiaries of Thailand's top three mobile operators are qualified to participate in the auction of 3G licenses next Tuesday.

The telecoms regulator will hold the auction on Oct. 16, and will put up nine slots of 5 megahertz (MHz) bandwidth at a starting price of 4.5 billion baht (US$146 million) per slot. Each party is limited to a maximum of 15MHz though.

According to Reuters, the largest player--Advanced Info Service (AIS)--will bid through wholly-owned unit Advanced Wireless Network while second-largest operator Total Access Communication will bid via DTAC Network. True Corp will bid through Real Future.

While no foreign operators have signaled their intentions to bid for spectrum, they do have stake in the local participants. Singapore Telecommunications, for instance, has a 21 percent stake in AIS while Total Access Communication is owned by Norway's Telenor.

In August, analysts said the 3G auction will be on track as the NBTC has legitimacy over the auction. The auction was derailed in 2010 when the court decided the then-regulator National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) did not have the authority to conduct the 3G spectrum sale.


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