3G licences auctioned off for B41.6bn

3G licences auctioned off for B41.6bn

The long-awaited auction of the third-generation 3G spectrum on the international-standard 2.1 gigahertz frequency was completed on Tuesday with all nine slots sold for a combined value of 41.625 billion baht.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) divided the 45 MHz bandwidth into nine slots and set a minimum bid of 4.5 billion baht for each.

Bids increase in 225 million baht increments, or 5% of the floor bid. Each bidder was entitled to a maximum of 15  MHz, or three slots.

There were three qualified bidders: Advanced Wireless Network, a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service (AIS); DTAC Network, a subsidiary of Total Access Communication (DTAC); and Real Future, a part of True Corporation.

AIS vice chairman Somprasong Boonyachai, DTAC's CEO Jon Eddy Abdullah and  True's CEO Suphachai Chearavanont led their respective teams for the auction.

In the first round of bidding, only six slots reached the tender price. One slot was ignored until the sixth round of bidding, so this particular slot was auctioned off at the floor price of 4.5 billion baht.

In conclusion, two slots were auctioned off at 4.95 billion baht each, one at 4.725 billion baht and six at 4.5 billion baht each.

Advanced Wireless Network secured three blocks of the spectrum in nine slots for a total price of 14.625 billion baht. As the bidder who offered the highest price, AIS had the right to choose the bandwidth first: 1950-1965 MHz for uplink and 2140-2155 MHz for downlink.

Both Real Future and DTAC Network offered the final prices at 13.5 billion baht each.

Real Future won the draw and chose the bandwidth slot of 1935-1950 and 2125-2140.

The combined final price was 1.125 billion baht higher than the floor price, or around 2.8% higher than the floor price.

Paiboon Amornpinyokeat, an information and communication technology lawyer and the founder of the P&P law firm, said earlier he suspected that if the final auction prices were not 10% higher than the floor price, there would be public concern over possible price collusion.

The three bidders earlier announced they would spend a combined 130 billion baht on the 3G network rollout over the next three years. They plan to launch 2.1GHz 3G commercial services by mid-2013.

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