CAT withdraws from Thailand's 4G auction

01 Sep 2015

Thai state-owned operator CAT Telecom has withdrawn from the nation's upcoming 4G auction, citing an inability to find a foreign partner.

The company has revealed it will not be participating in auctions for 1800-MHz or 900-MHz airwaves, the Bangkok Postreported.

Negotiations with potential partners broke down due to uncertainty related to the auction delay and the unclear auction design, the report states.

CAT also objected to the prospect of having to declare its budget and receive cabinet approval prior to the auction, stating that it would clue the other participants into the company's maximum bid, barring it from effectively competing.

The withdrawal of CAT is another blow to the government's attempt to stimulate competition for the auction and the wider telecom sector.

The government has been seeking to attract new entrants and foreign companies to bid to achieve these aims and avoid a repeat of the 2100-MHz 3G auction from 2012, which raised a mere 2.8% premium over the reserve price due to a lack of competitive bidding.

Unless the government can attract new entrants there will be easily enough spectrum to go around, leaving incumbents AIS, Dtac and True Move with little incentive to outbid one another.

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