Thailand may need replacement 900-MHz auction

telecomasia.net

Thai telecom regulator NBTC is reportedly preparing for the possibility of having to conduct a replacement auction round for 900-MHz spectrum, due to rumors one of the winning bidders of last month's huge auction may be unable to pay.

A high-ranking source within the NBTC told the Bangkok Post that the regulator plans to bring the issue up with its legal panel next week, including potential conditions for a re-auction.

This follows rumors that Bangkok Bank has initially rejected Jasmine International's plans to borrow the money needed to pay the government, citing the high license cost cost.

Jasmine bid a hefty 75.65 billion ($2.11 billion) baht for a 10MHz carrier of 900-MHz spectrum during a hotly contested spectrum auction, while TrueMove bid 76.29 billion baht for its license.

A potential South Korean partner in Jasmine also recently called off the alliance, the report adds, leading to uncertainty over whether Jasmine will be able to come up with the funds. This would require the NBTC to re-allocate the spectrum.

Jasmine's first 8.04 billion baht spectrum payment is due in March. The regulator has the authority to confiscate the 645 million baht guarantee the company placed before the auction as a potential penalty for breaching the auction terms.

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