Six companies have picked up bid documents for the satellite orbital slot auction as the process concluded on Wednesday, says the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
The six are National Telecom (NT), mu Space and Advanced Technology, Prompt Technical Services, Space Tech Innovation, Ascend Capital and The Win Telecom.
Registered on Nov 22, Space Tech Innovation is a subsidiary of SET-listed satellite service provider Thaicom, while Ascend Capital is under Ascend Group, an online business arm of conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group.
Prompt Technical Services was registered in 2000 as an electricity installation service provider, while mu Space is a local satellite and space tech firm. The Win Telecom, registered two years ago, operates engineering and related technical consultancy services.
The upcoming auction is the second attempt by the NBTC after it was scrapped last year when TC Space Connect, a subsidiary of Thaicom, was the only bidder.
A Thaicom source who requested anonymity said the company changed its bidder from TC Space Connect to Space Tech Innovation because the former filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court against the NBTC's decision to scrap the auction last year, even though TC Space Connect was qualified to join the auction.
The upcoming auction is scheduled for Jan 8 next year. The information session about related document preparation is slated for Dec 2.
Interested firms are scheduled to submit their bid documents on Dec 27 with a fee payment of 500,000 baht. The list of qualified bidders is slated for announcement on Jan 4, with a mock auction on Jan 7. If there is only one bidder, the auction will be postponed to Jan 29, allowing more time for other interested parties to apply.
Air Marshal Thanapant Raicharoen, an NBTC board member, said the regulator expects the auction will be successful given the number of interested companies. It is still too early to predict how many will submit bid requests on Dec 27, he said.
According to AM Thanapant, this auction has more practical conditions than the previous attempt.
The auction offers five slot packages, covering 50.5°East and 51°E with a starting price of 374 million baht; 78.5°E with a starting price of 360 million; 119.5°E and 120°E with a starting price of 397 million; 126°E with a starting price of 8 million; and 142°E with a starting price of 189 million.
The licences for orbital slot usage run for 20 years. He said 119.5°E is expected to be the most desirable slot for bidders, followed by 78.5°E. Winning bidders are obliged to reserve one transponder per broadcast satellite, or 400 megabits per second capacity per broadband satellite, for state use and public services without charge.