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NBTC to reveal qualifying bidders today

THE National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is expected to announce today the names of all qualified bidders for commercial digital terrestrial TV licences, with the licence auction anticipated before New Year, an NBTC source said.

The NBTC broadcasting committee will consider approving their names at its meeting today.

There were 29 companies submitting 41 applications to bid for the licences. All are expected to be announced as qualified bidders, the source added. The source also said it believed the committee would announce the licence auction between December 20 to 27.

"The committee is expected to call for the bid during December 20 to 27, earlier than previously expected. It is also considering the possibility of organising a bid for two TV-licence categories on the same day in order to speed up the process," the source added.

NBTC broadcasting committee chairman Natee Sukonrat declined to confirm if all applicants had qualified to bid for the licences, or when the auction dates could be confirmed.

Earlier, the committee planned to hold an auction in each of the four TV categories on separate days - beginning with seven high-definition (HD) variety-channel licences; followed by standard definition (SD) variety-channel licences; seven SD news channel licences, and three SD kids and family channel licences.

After looking at the number of bidder applications submitted to the NBTC in late October for the auction of the 24 licences, it appears the most of the competition for licences will be in the variety SD TV category.

There are 16 firms applying for seven standard-definition (SD) variety channels. There are nine firms applying for the seven available high-definition (HD) variety channels.

Ten broadcasters are vying for the seven news channels, while six enterprises seeking the three children's channels.

Natee said the committee would forge ahead with plans to auction the licences, despite the country's current political climate. Some of the digital TV network operators will begin selecting operators to provide them with digital transmitters and broadcasting technology by January.

Chalit Lailikit, executive vice president and acting senior vice-president for network operations at MCOT, said the company was conducting a trial run of digital terrestrial TV broadcasting in Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Phuket.


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