No Thai 3G bid for Axiata-Samart

25 Aug 2010

Malaysia’s Axiata Group has said that it does not plan to launch a 3G mobile licence bid in Thailand in partnership with Samart Corp, after the Thai group said that it was in talks on the possibility of forming a 3G joint venture with Axiata or another Asian telecoms firm to compete for a 2100MHz concession in an auction set for late September. Reuters quotes Axiata’s CEO as denying the rumour of a joint bid. TeleGeography notes that Axiata holds a 19% stake in Samart Corp and a 35.8% stake in Thai handset vendor and 3G MVNO Samart I-Mobile, which launched resold 3G services over state-run TOT’s 2100MHz network covering Bangkok in December 2009. Samart’s other Thai businesses include a broadband ISP division and it has also trialled WiMAX services. Axiata recently revealed that it may sell its Samart stakes, which it considers to be non-core assets. More than six groups – and at least 14 individual companies – have so far purchased bidding documents for the Thai 3G auction, after parties including Jasmine International (parent of provincial telco TT&T) joined an original list of eight firms representing five prospective bidders – AIS, DTAC, True, Samart and Loxley.