Eight companies have so far bought bid documents for Thailand’s 3G license auction that will take place September 28-29, according to a Bangkok Post report. The applicants are market leader AIS and its subsidiary AWN, number two player DTAC and its subsidiary DTAC Internet Service, number three player True Move and SK Wireless (a subsidiary of parent True Corp), Samart I-Mobile, and Loxley. However, of those eight, only five will be eligible to submit bids as the country’s three major operators must decide to use only one entity each for bidding. Thailand’s telecoms regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has made a total of 20 bidding documents available. Companies can buy the documents until August 29 and must submit their proposals by August 30.
The NTC plans to hold the auction of three licenses for 3G services in the fourth week of September and it has set the starting bidding price for a 15-year license at THB12.8 billion (US$402.9 million). Thailand is one of the last South East Asian countries to auction 3G spectrum, and new reports today claim the auction could face further delays because the terms of all three members of the NTC will expire next month, and the regulator is due to be replaced by the new National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. This could potentially leave the process open to legal challenge. According to Wireless Intelligence, Thailand has almost 70 million mobile connections and a 106 percent penetration rate.