Litigation snags for 3G auction

NBTC reveals tough terms for bidding

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is determined to fast forward the third-generation (3G) spectrum auction in spite of the threat of litigation.

An NTBC staff member checks a CCTV screen in the control room at the NBTC’s head office on Soi Sailom of Phahon Yothin Road yesterday. The cameras monitor all entries to the three bidder rooms, one for each bidder. Each room is equipped with two PCs, a printer, a projector and aTVscreen forCDorDVDviewing only. There are no CCTV cameras or internet connections in the room, and mobile phones are not allowed. Twopolicemen will guard the front of each room, accompanying the bidder and his team whenever they wish to leave the room. No more than 10 people are allowed inside. APICHIT JINAKUL

The Central Administrative Court yesterday delayed its decision on whether next week's auction can go ahead as scheduled.

Telecom analyst Anuparp Thiralarp and the Consumer Rights Protection Association on Wednesday filed petitions against the NBTC calling for an emergency injunction that would suspend the 3G auction, which is scheduled to take place next Tuesday.

The filing said the NBTC's regulations do not benefit the public in compliance with Section 47 of the constitution, saying radio frequencies for telecom and broadcasting services are national resources.

The NBTC yesterday revealed tough bidding terms and processes that it hopes will ensure transparency and show that it is serving the interests of the public.

Under the schedule, the NBTC will auction off 45 MHz of bandwidth in the 2100-megahertz band next Tuesday. The auction will be an ascending-bid type, with each participant allowed to purchase up to 15 MHz or three blocks.

The span of each next bidding price offer is set at 225 million baht or 5% of the floor bidding price.

The total bandwidth of 45 MHz will be divided into three groups, each comprising 15 slots of 5 MHz.

The NBTC has set a reserve price of 4.5 billion baht per 5 Mhz.

The three qualified bidders _ Advanced Wireless Network, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service; DTAC Network, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication; and Real Future, a subsidiary of True Corporation _ are almost assured of getting a block each.

Pacharasut Sujarittanonta, a consultant for the auction design to the NBTC, said bidders are required to offer a bid price starting at 4.5 billion baht, increasing by 5% or 225 million baht for each succeeding round.

They have to choose three desired slot numbers.

The names of the bidders will be kept secret, and the winners will be announced on Oct 22.

About the author

Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana
Position: Senior Business Reporter