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Telecom panel sets starting bid price for August 1,800MHz auction

The telecom regulator yesterday approved the starting bid price of two spectrum licences that will be put to auction in August at Bt11.6 billion each. The licences are for cellular bandwidth on the 1,800-megahertz spectrum.

Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the telecom committee of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said his panel had decided that the reserve price for these two licences should be the same as the starting price, at Bt464 million per MHz.

Each of the two licences features a combined uplink/downlink spectrum band totalling 12.5MHz.

This starting price is 3 per cent higher than that of the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum, which was Bt450 million per MHz, which the watchdog auctioned in December 2012.

Settapong said the NBTC board would consider this starting price next Wednesday and would need 45 days for the public-hearing process on the auction plan. The NBTC will call for bids on the two licences in either the second or third week of August.

During the auction, the bids will have to go up by 5 per cent of the starting price, or Bt580 million, for each round. If the number of the bidders is the same as the number of licences, the NBTC will cancel the bidding.

The term of the 1,800MHz licences will be 19 years. The winners will be required to cover at least 40 per cent of the population with their cellular networks within four years of receiving the licences.

The telecom committee hired the International Telecommunication Union as its adviser in drawing up the auction plan. Telecom committee member Prasert Silpipat said that according to the ITU, the total estimated valuation price of the 1,800MHz spectrum was Bt663 million per MHz, but it recommended that the final price should be 70 per cent of Bt663 million, or Bt464 million per MHz.

The telecom committee will consider the starting price for the 900MHz spectrum next month. It will call bids for that spectrum in November.


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