Thailand’s regulator has abandoned plans to adopt an n-1 formula for the upcoming 3G auctions in favour of a slot demand and supply based model.
National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissioner Sethapong Malisuwan said that under the proposed system, the auction would be broken up into nine 5 MHz slots instead of three 15 MHz licences.
Each bidder would declare how many slots they wanted. For instance, with four vendors each wanting 15 MHz, that would mean 12 slots in demand against the 9 available.
The price of every slot would then go up and up until one of the bidders abandons a slot. The price would continue to rise again until there is demand for only 9 slots left among however many bidders there are.
The final system will be finalised by the end of April and the starting price will be announced by the end of May.
Each operator would be limited to 15 or perhaps 20 MHz and a minimum of 5 MHz.
Sethapong said that it was unclear if the price would be higher or lower than the estimates in the aborted 2010 bid. He said that 2.1-GHz may not be the most valuable spectrum now as 1800-MHz LTE is more enticing to many operators.
He said that the expiring 25 MHz (12.5 by TrueMove and 12.5 by DPC, an AIS subsidiary) should be auctioned off six months before the concessions expire in September 2013.
Sethapong also said that the auction would be conducted on a tight budget of between $970,000 and $1.3 million (30 to 40 million baht).
Finally, the commissioner said that anyone blocking this auction would be considered an enemy of the state and urged the public to join him in prayer to the spirits to ask for a successful auction.
Earlier, fellow commissioner Suthipol Thaweechaikarn said that all the operators would be called in to swear they would not use any loophole to stop the auction and similarly branded anyone trying to halt the auction as being unpatriotic.