Thailand’s CAT Telecom will not participate in the country’s long-awaited 4G auctions in November after it failed to find a foreign partner.
In addition to not being able to reach a deal with a foreign operator, the state-owned operator was put off by having to disclose its budget and obtain cabinet approval before the auctions, the Bangkok Post reported.
CAT’s acting president, Sanpachai Huvanandana, told the Post: “This is impractical, as other bidders would know our maximum bid. It’s barring us from competing in an auction.”
CAT had been in talks with Japan’s NTT Docomo and South Korea’s SK Telecom, but the negotiations broke down because of delays and uncertainties in the auctions, Sanpachai said.
The country’s three main mobile players – AIS, True Move and dtac – as well as state-owned TOT will participate in the auctions. Newcomer Jasmine International, which owns the country’s second largest fixed broadband operator, said in March it plans to participate in the 4G auctions and was looking for a foreign partner to help fund the operation.
The 4G auctions, which have been delayed by more than a year since the military coup in May 2014, include the sale of 20MHz of 900MHz spectrum and 30MHz in the 1.8GHz band. The telecoms regulator announced recently it would raise the reserve prices for both the 900MHz and 1.8GHz spectrum after academics and consumer groups complained that the base price was set too low.
CAT has expressed interest in keeping 20MHz of 1.8GHz spectrum after its concession with dtac expires in 2018 so it can launch its own 4G service and has sent a proposal to the Information and Communication Technology Ministry.