Thai mobile newcomer Jasmine International reportedly has finally lined up financing from Bangkok Bank and will be able to meet the 21 March deadline to pay the first installment for the 4G spectrum it won in December.
The head of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said Jasmine executives have assured him it can meet the deadline and that a formal letter confirming payment would be sent today, the Bangkok Post reported.
Sources told the Post that Bangkok Bank is ready to lend the funds if Jasmine CEO Pete Bodharamik agrees to personally guarantee the loan.
Jasmine’s subsidiary, Jas Mobile, and True Move each bid about THB76 billion ($2.1 billion) for 10MHz of 900MHz spectrum and face a 21 March deadline for paying 50 per cent of the reserve price of the spectrum and providing bank guarantees for the remaining amount to be paid in three installments until 2017.
True made its payments last week, but Jas reportedly ran into difficulty securing financing after its international partners – believed to be SK Telecom, Temasek and Chunghwa Telecom — pulled out after the spectrum price went beyond fair value.
The regulator yesterday amended the rules for issuing the licences from three to 30 days after a court gave the country’s leading mobile operator AIS another 30 days to use the 900MHz band to provide service to its 2G customers. AIS, which operates 2G services under a concession with state-owned TOT which expired last September, faced a 15 March cutoff by the regulator. That spectrum was won by Jas in the December auction.
Jas, if it meets the payment deadline, will receive the licence on 15 April.