AIS and True Move have become the first Thai operators to win 4G licences in the country’s long-delayed auctions.
Ranked first and third place respectively, AIS and True Move each paid over $1 billion for 15MHz of spectrum in the 1.8GHz band – the market leader shelled out THB41 billion while True Move paid THB39.8 billion, exceeding the reserve prices by 158% and 150% respectively. The auctions have thus far raised THB80.8 billion ($2.25 billion).
Number two operator dtac failed to obtain a licence, as did fixed-line broadband operator Jasmine International. The auctions lasted for over 30 hours and featured 86 bidding rounds, with the megahertz per person cost of THB18 ($0.50) matching that in developing markets, according to the NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith.
The 4G licences are valid for 18 years, and their terms stipulate that AIS and True Move must have paid off half their bidding fees within 90 days of the auctions. The operators must extend coverage to 40% of the population within 4 years, and are forbidden from pricing 4G services higher than 3G services.
December 15th is the scheduled date for the 900MHz auction, which sees 2 blocks of 10MHz up for bidding. The extreme length of the first auction has prompted the government to halve the duration of each round from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes.