Thailand’s long-awaited auction of 3G licenses could happen in December, according to reports. “In our rough timeframe, if there are no obstacles, we should be able to open the auction in the second week of December and the NTC will be able to issue licenses two weeks after that,” Sethaporn Cusripituck, one of the members of the country’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), said today, reports Reuters. “We want it to happen this year,” he added. Under the draft plan, NTC will issue four 15-year licenses for the 2.1GHz frequency, with one license of 15MHz bandwidth and 3 licenses of 10MHz.
According to Wireless Intelligence, AIS is the country’s largest mobile operator with 28 million subscribers and a 44 percent market share. In second place is DTAC (with a 30 percent market share), followed by True Move (24 percent share). However, Reuters notes that the issue of foreign shareholders in telecom firms may still derail the process. Analysts believe the licensing process could be delayed if a Thai court is asked to look into the qualifications of bidders to see if they comply with the telecoms and foreign business laws, which limit foreign shareholding in Thai firms to 49 percent. Number-two player DTAC is controlled by Norway’s Telenor.