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Marathon bidding for 4G licences exceeds Bt50 billion after 30 rounds

Nov 12. 2015
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THE latest bidding price for both 1800MHz telecom licences, as of press time, yesterday had surged to Bt50.530 billion and the latest bid for each licence was in excess of 100 per cent of the full spectrum value. In round 30, the bid for the first licence
The marathon bidding, hosted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) at its headquarters on Phaholyothin Soi 8, was going on at the time of going to the press after having begun at 10am. The NBTC telecom committee, at 7pm yesterday, abruptly called a special meeting to extend the closing time for the bidding from the scheduled 9pm until clear winners emerged. The bidders were allowed a break from 9-9.30pm.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said yesterday that the bid should end at 9pm and continue today. The NBTC, however, was concerned that if the four bidders were allowed to go back home yesterday, it could raise doubts among the public of their possible collusion when they return for bidding today. 
The minimum starting bid for each licence was Bt15.912 billion, which amounted to 80 per cent of the full spectrum value. The four participants were allowed 20 minutes per round to make their bids.
The four bidders were Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) of Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC TriNet of Total Access Communic-ation (DTAC), True Move H Universal Communication of True Corp, and Jas Mobile Broadband of Jasmine International. They aim to secure the licence to provide 4G service.
There were two licences available, each for a pair of bands on the 1800-megahertz spectrum. The first licence was for the 1710-1725MHz and 1805-1820MHz bands and the second for the 1725-1749MHz and 1820-1835MHz bands. Each of the licences featured 15MHz of bandwidth, valid for a period of 18 years.
The competition yesterday was initially concentrated on the second licence. The band in the second licence is adjacent to DTAC’s 25MHz in the 1800MHz band, which will expire in 2018.
When the auctions started, one participant bid for the first licence, while the other three bid for the second one. The total bid for the two licences after the first round was Bt33.416 billion.
In the second round, the bidder for the first licence stood by the price of Bt16.708 billion as no one was in competition. For the second licence, two bidders raised the price to Bt17.504 billion, while the other bidder did not raise the price. The total price of both licences at that stage stood at Bt34.212 billion. The AIS share price yesterday dropped 1.31 per cent to close at Bt226, while the share price of DTAC fell 2.79 per cent to close at Bt61, True fell 1.96 per cent to Bt10 and Jas fell 5.98 per cent to Bt5.50. The NBTC auction of three licences on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum in late 2012 had realised Bt41.625 billion in upfront fees. On that occasion, AWN bid Bt14.625 billion for a 15-year licence, while True’s Real Future and DTAC’s DTAC Network each bid Bt13.5 billion. 

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