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Thai market leaders poised to clean up at spectrum auction

No new entrants from abroad will participate in Thailand’s long-delayed 3G auctions, with the bidding to be dominated by the country’s top three domestic operators in a process which begins next week.

All three market leading operators – SingTel affiliate AIS, Telenor subsidiary TAC and third place True Corp – will lodge their bids via dependent firms. The highest bidders will be able to choose their frequencies ahead of their competitors.

The Thai regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) will offer 45MHz of spectrum for auction in the 2.1GHz band, dividing this into nine blocks of 5MHz. No one bidder may obtain more than three blocks, while each block will have a starting price of US$146 million.

Thailand’s auctions have been delayed numerous times, most recently due to claims that the previous regulator – the National Telecommunications Commission – was not legally able to licence spectrum.

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