TOT awards $524m 3G tender

Dylan Bushell-Embling
31 Jan 2011

Thailand's TOT has chosen a consortium led by local vendor Samart as the winner of its 3G network expansion tender.

The consortium - which also includes Thai conglomerate Loxley, Huawei and NSN - was on Friday awarded the deal based on its bid price, after a court rejected Ericsson's petition to freeze the auction.

The group bid 16.29 billion baht ($524.6 million) for the tender, beating out a rival offer from another consortium consisting of Advanced Information Technology and United Communications, the Bangkok Postreported. The reserve was 17.4 billion baht.

Ericsson and ZTE had been disqualified from the process earlier this month, leaving these consortia as the only bidders.

Ericsson had asked the nation's Administrative Court to order TOT to put a hold on the auction process, arguing that it had been unfairly excluded.

But the court denied this request, even as ZTE submitted a similar petition on the same day.

State-owned TOT now plans to sign the contract with the Samart-Loxley consortium next month.

The tender came one day after private operator True Move signed a deal with CAT, Thailand's other publicly-owned operator, to co-operate on a HSPA network expansion.

Both deals are signs that private telcos are unwilling to wait for a long-delayed spectrum auction to offer 3G services.

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