17 companies line up for 3G

A total of 17 companies have picked up application forms for Thailand's imminent third-generation (3G) auction for the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum, one month after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's notice of availability.

However, it is widely expected by industry observers that only three major mobile operators - Advance Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communications (DTAC) and True Move - will participate in the bid.

As of Thursday - the last day for interested companies to pick up the forms - 17 companies from 11 groups had picked up the 3G application forms.

They include three companies each from AIS and True Corp groups, and two each from Total Access Communications and Jasmine International.

The other companies are ACT Mobile, a subsidiary of TOT Plc; BB Connect of the Benchachinda Group, the former owner of DTAC; Cable Thai Holding, a cable TV operator owned by Wichai Thongtang, a former lawyer for Thaksin Shinawatra; Jaya Soft Vision, a subsidiary of the telecom solutions firm JRW Utility; Victory Motor, owned by Yuthana Phothasuthon; Symphony Communication; and Tantawan Telecommunication.

Companies that participate in the 3G spectrum auction must submit their application forms by 4.30pm Friday.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will announce the qualified bidders on Oct 9. Disqualified firms can appeal before the auction takes place.

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