True, Jasmine defend 4G bids as share prices fall (Updated)

True, Jasmine defend 4G bids as share prices fall (Updated)

Jasmine group CEO Pete Bodharamik talks about Jasmine's future after winning a 4G licence at a news conference at the group's head office on Chaeng Wattana Road on Monday. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Jasmine group CEO Pete Bodharamik talks about Jasmine's future after winning a 4G licence at a news conference at the group's head office on Chaeng Wattana Road on Monday. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

True Move and Jasmine International have both defended their record-breaking bids for for 4G bandwidth, saying they make good business sense. Investors do not seem impressed as shares throughout the sector fell heavily today.

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8pm update

After Jasmine's press conference, It didn't take long for True Corporation to make it case. Here is a short summary for our online reporters:

"We regard it as a risk with high gains," says Mr Suphachai. KITJA APICHONRAJAREK

The 76.30-billion-baht price True Corporation Plc is committed to paying for 10 megahertz on the 900MHz band is not high and will enable it to cut network costs by 45 billion baht, its CEO said on Monday.

"True now has a 20% market share. We set a target to increase it to 34% over the next five years. We will spend 55 billion baht expanding the 4G network nationwide in three years," CEO Suphachai Chearavanont told a news conference on Monday.

True, through its subsidiary True Move H Universal Communication, won the licence for the second lot of the spectrum at 76.30 billion baht while Jasmine International won the first lot at 75.65 billion baht.

After winning the bid, True has bandwidth of 55MHz on the 850, 900, 1800 and 2100MHz frequencies.

"This enables us to manage 2G to 4G usage efficiently, reduce risks in the long term and expand the growing True Move H customer base.

"The 900MHz is a superior band and the price is not expensive, all things considered. There are already 15 million 2G customers on the band with different operators and they will be our target. It's not an empty band like in foreign countries.

"We also have equipment and chipsets ready which will help us cut network expansion costs by almost 45 billion baht. It has high value and potential, especially in high buildings.

"We regard it as a risk with high gains," he said.

Evening update from our online reporters

Jasmine group CEO Pete Bodharamik was the first to defend his company's bidding strategy during last week's 4G 900MHz auction

Investors did not seem impressed, however, with shares of Jasmine and those of other players in the telecom sector falling heavily.

JAS shares fell 14.64% to 4.08 baht at 2.20pm, in line with other telecom stocks.

DTAC shares were hit the hardest, down 19.74% to 30.50 baht. Intouch Plc, which holds 40% of AIS, sank 15.60% while AIS, of which stock ticker is ADVANC, dipped 14.25%. True Corporation was the least affected, down 4.83% to 6.90 baht.  

Mr Pete announced that Jasmine International Plc, the newcomer in the mobile industry, has pledged to invest 20 billion baht over the next three years, with the help a foreign partner whom it declined to name.

It aimed for its mobile subsidiary, JAS Mobile Broadband Co Ltd, to serve 2 million numbers by next year and targeted to become No.2 in the fixed/mobile broadband market.

The Jasmine group CEO held a news conference for the first time after winning the Lot 1 licence at the 900-megahertz band auction at 75.65 billion baht last week.

On criticism the price was too high, the executive said it would not affect the business because the payment terms were flexible.

"The first payment is only 50% of the starting price and the rest will be paid over three years. We are confident we can pay them," Mr Pete said.

Regulators eased the payment terms for the 900MHz auction from what was required in the 1800MHz bidding in November.

In the 1800MHz auction, each winner was required to pay half the prices it offered within 90 days and 25% each in the second and third years.

But winners of the 900MHz bidding are required to pay 8.04 billion baht or 50% of the reserve price in the first 90 days and 25% each in the second and third years. The remaining sum — the amount above the reserve price — will be paid in the fourth year.

Morning story

True defends record bid for spectrum

Srisamorn Phoosuphanusorn

Suphachai Chearavanont, chief executive of True Corporation. PATIPAT JANTHONG

True Move, the country's third-largest mobile operator, insists its bidding price for the 900-megahertz licence is not "extremely unreasonable", despite concerns that prices offered went higher than many were expecting.

"The bidding price is within the company's expectations of reasonable value, following our considerable research into determining the real value of the spectrum," said Suphachai Chearavanont, chief executive of True Corporation, the parent firm of True Move.

Industry analysts branded the auction prices as "irrational", which ended after nearly 66 hours of fierce bidding involving 199 rounds of price offers.

"The price did not exceed our figures which were based on many studies and in working with several consulting firms before the auction took place," Mr Suphachai argued.

True Move and Jasmine International won the two licences of the 900-MHz spectrum providing fourth generation (4G) wireless broadband service at a record cost of 76.298 billion baht and 75.564 billion baht respectively.

Noppadol Dej-Udom, chief financial officer of True Corporation, said the bidding price was reasonable when compared with the massive growth in the use of mobile data and the huge growth in Thailand's mobile data market, of up to 200% last year.

The cost of acquiring new spectrum is worth it to the operators, which factor the cost into their business plans, he said.

True Move and Jasmine will go before the media today to explain their strategic plans on providing 4G.

Total Access Communications (Dtac), which failed in both the 1,800-MHz and 900-MHz auctions, said they will allocate capital to expand their 4G network into other bands for greater quality and higher capacity, despite not having a slot in the 900-MHz band.

Industry veterans suggested the ever-higher bids show that "spectrum demand" is very real in Thailand.

"If operators could add more capacity and speed to their networks through technological upgrades and more base stations, they wouldn't be paying such ridiculous prices for new spectrum," said an industry source who asked not to be named.

National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) member Prawit Leesathapornwongsa said he believed that Jasmine, as a new player in the market, will seek to cooperate with operators who failed in the 900-MHz auction to save on infrastructure investment costs.

He conceded the auction price Jasmine offered is too high to make a profit.

Mr Prawit, however, said the infrastructure investment costs for operators of the 900-MHz spectrum will be lower than for the 1800-MHz despite the higher bid prices.

This is because the 900-MHz spectrum can cover a longer range. One 900-MHz tower can cover the same area as three 1800-MHz towers, he said.

You can read my earlier story here:

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  • aim: to have as your purpose or goal - มีเป้าหมาย มีจุดมุ่งหมาย
  • allocate (verb): to give out an amount of or share of something - แบ่งส่วน
  • analyst: a person whose job involves examining facts or materials in order to give an opinion on them - นักวิเคราะห์
  • auction: a usually public sale of goods or property, where people make higher and higher bids (= offers of money) for each thing, until the thing is sold to the person who will pay most - การขายโดยการประมูล, การขายทอดตลาด
  • bands (noun): ranges of radio waves - แถบคลื่นความถี่, แถบคลื่นวิทยุ
  • bandwidth (noun): the amount of information that can be sent during a period of time over a network or the internet; the capacity of a communications channel - ความกว้างแถบความถี่, แบนด์วิชท์
  • base stations (noun): equipment that allows wireless communication between user equipment and a network -
  • based (verb): to use an idea, a fact, a situation, etc. as the point from which something can be developed - วางรากฐาน
  • bidding (noun): offering to buy/sell something at a specific price - การยื่นเสนอราคา, การประมูล
  • brand: to describe something (esp. as being bad or unpleasant) - เรียกว่าเป็น
  • broadband (noun): a type of connection to the Internet that allows you to receive or send a lot of information very quickly - ระบบการสื่อสารแถบความถี่กว้าง
  • capacity: the amount of something that can be produced or done - ความสามารถในการ (ระบาย, ผลิต etc.)
  • capital: a large amount of money that is invested or is used - ทุน, เงินทุน
  • chief executive: the person with the highest rank in a company or an organisation - ผู้บริหารสูงสุด
  • committed (verb): to have promised that you will definitely do something, keep to an agreement or arrangement, etc - ให้คำมั่น
  • conceded: admitted unwillingly that something is true - ยอมรับ
  • concerns: worries - ความกังวล
  • confident: being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future - มั่นใจ
  • consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • considerable (adj): large in size, amount, or degree - ค่อนข้างมาก, ค่อนข้างใหญ่
  • consulting: discussing something with someone in order to get their advice or their permission to do something - ปรึกษา, ปรึกษาหารือ
  • cooperate: to work with other people to achieve a result that is good for everyone involved - ร่วมมือกัน
  • data: facts or information, especially when examined and used to find out things or to make decisions - ข้อมูล, ตัวเลข, สถิติ
  • decline: to say politely that you will not accept something or do something - ปฏิเสธ
  • defend: to say things to support someone or something - ปกป้อง
  • demand: the amount of a product or service that people want - ความต้องการ
  • determine: to discover something by examining evidence to or calculate something - กำหนด, ระบุ, แสดงผล
  • ease: to relieve; to make a problem, situation or pain less severe or serious - บรรเทา
  • exceed: to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
  • executive: a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร
  • expand: to make or become larger - ขยาย
  • expectations: what is expected - ที่คาดไว้
  • extremely: very; to a very high degree - อย่างมาก, อย่างยิ่ง
  • factor in: to consider; to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา
  • fierce: very strong - รุนแรง, ดุเดือด
  • figures (noun): amounts, numbers - จำนวนเลข, ตัวเลข
  • financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน
  • firm: a business or company - บริษัท
  • flexible: able to change to suit new conditions or situations - เปลี่ยนแปลงได้,แก้ได้
  • gain: a benefit, or an advantage - ผลประโยชน์
  • generation: a group of people in society, a type of technology, a system, etc. which exists at a certain time - รุ่น
  • impressed: admiring someone or something very much because of an unusually good quality or achievement - ประทับใจ
  • in line with: similar to or corresponding with another thing - สอดคล้องกับ
  • industry: the people and activities involved in producing a particular thing, or in providing a particular service; the production of goods from raw materials, especially in factories - อุตสาหกรรม
  • infrastructure: a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
  • invest: to spend money on something in order to make it better or more successful - ลงทุน
  • investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน
  • investor: a person or organization that invests money, i.e., uses money with the aim of making a profit from it, for example by buying property or buying shares in a company - นักลงทุน
  • irrational: not thinking or behaving in a sensible way - ไม่มีเหตุผล
  • licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
  • long term: that will last or have an effect over a long period of time - ระยะยาว
  • lot: a group or set of things or people - ชุด,รุ่น
  • massive: very large - ใหญ่มหาศาล
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • mobile (technology): of devices, especially telecommunication devices, that can easily be moved around, e.g., mobile phones, tablets, notebook computers - อุปกรณ์ซึ่งเคลื่อนที่ได้ง่าย
  • National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC): the independent government agency which oversees and regulates the Thai telecoms and broadcasting industry - สำนักงานคณะกรรมการกิจการกระจายเสียง กิจการโทรทัศน์และกิจการโทรคมนาคมแห่งชาติ
  • nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
  • network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
  • newcomer (noun): someone who is new to some situation or job or place - คนมาใหม่, สมาชิกใหม่, คนที่เพิ่มมาถึง
  • news conference: press conference; an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
  • offer: an act of saying that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody - เสนอเพื่อให้พิจารณา
  • operator (noun): a person or company that runs a business - ผู้ดำเนินกิจการทางธุรกิจ, ผู้ประกอบธุรกิจ
  • pledged: seriously promised to do something - สาบาน
  • potential: what is possible - ความเป็นไปได้
  • profit: money that you make from selling goods and services after all your costs have been paid - กำไร
  • quality: the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is - คุณภาพ
  • range: the distance over which something can be seen or heard; the distance over which something can be used effectively - ช่องระยะ
  • reasonable: fair, practical and sensible - มีเหตุผล
  • record: the best or most ever achieved - สถิติ
  • regard: to consider or have an opinion about something or someone - เห็นว่า,ถือว่า
  • regulator: an official (or organisation) who makes certain that the companies who operate a system work effectively and fairly - ผู้มีอำนาจควบคุม
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • respectively: in the order in which they were mentioned - ตามลำดับ
  • ridiculous: silly or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at - น่าขัน, น่าหัวเราะ, ไร้สาระ
  • risk: the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง
  • round: one of a series of events, activities, etc. - รอบ
  • sector: a part of a country’s economic or business activity - ภาค (เศรษฐกิจ)
  • shares (noun): the units of equal value into which a company is divided and sold to raise money. People who own shares receive part of the company's profits - หุ้น
  • slot (noun): a position, a time or an opportunity for somebody/something, for example in a list, a programme of events or a series of broadcasts - ช่อง, ช่องเสียบ, ตำแหน่ง, เวลาและสถานที่ซึ่งกำหนดในตาราง
  • source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว
  • spectrum (noun): a range of something, in this case, frequencies available to telecommunications businesses - สเปกตรัม
  • strategic: carefully planned in order to achieve a particular goal, especially in war, business, or politics - ทางยุทธศาสตร์
  • strategy: a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time - ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ  
  • subsidiary: (of a business company) owned or controlled by another company - บริษัทในเครือ
  • sum: an amount of something, especially money - จำนวนเงิน
  • superior: better in quality than somebody/something else; greater than somebody/something else - เหนือกว่า, เยี่ยมกว่า, ดีกว่า
  • target: something you want to achieve; a particular number or amount that you want to achieve - เป้าหมาย
  • target: to try to get a particular number or amount - ตั้งเป้าหมาย
  • terms: conditions; requirements - ข้อกำหนด
  • unreasonable: not fair; expecting too much - เกินกว่าเหตุ, มากเกินไป, ไม่เหมาะสม
  • upgrade (noun): something that improves the quality or usefulness of a computer, a machine or a system - การยกระดับ, การพัฒนาให้ดีขึ้น
  • value: how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged - มูลค่า
  • veteran: having a lot of experience doing something - อาวุโส
  • wireless: a system of sending and receiving signals without wires - ไร้สาย
  • worth it: useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the time spent or the effort made - คุ้มค่ากับความพยายาม
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