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August 13, 2012
With just two months to go before Thailand’s 3G auction, the regulator has decided to amend the spectrum cap down from 20 MHz to 15 MHz.
With 45 MHz up for auction and three incumbent operators, this would render the 17 October auction a non-event unless a surprise new entrant enters the fray.
Setthapong Malisuwan, deputy chairman of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said that the board was likely to reduce the spectrum cap down from 20 MHz to 15 MHz each and will consider raising the reserve price from $143 million (4.5 billion Thai baht) to $191 million (6 billion baht) per 5-MHz slot.
Also to be considered was an additional clause requiring a launch in all major city centres by March or April 2013 and a revision to the schedule of payments that may see the full payment taken after five years instead of three.
However, Colonel Setthapong said that personally he was against raising the reserve price as it would only result in higher costs being passed on to consumers.
Instead of the usual series of public hearings over 30 days, the revisions will be open to comments submitted via the website for just seven days. The reduced window is to ensure the process can be rushed through in time for the telecommunications commissioners meeting on 21 August, and the final combined board meeting on 22 August.