Four groups submitted bids yesterday for Thai state-run telco TOT’s nationwide 3G mobile network expansion project worth THB20 billion (USD667 million), reports The Bangkok Post. The applicants are: the SL consortium, which comprises Samart Corporation and Loxley, with Huawei Technologies supplying the network equipment; the AU consortium, consisting of Advanced Information Technology (AIT) and United Communications (Ucom); Ericsson (AS Associate); and the Chinese ZTE consortium (a group of ZTE and Forth Corporation). TOT will announce the qualified bidders who meet the technical and commercial terms within ten days. An e-auction is scheduled for 28 January, and TOT hopes to sign the contract with the winner between 15-18 February 2011. Within 180 days of the contract signing, TOT hopes that its HSPA-based high speed mobile service – currently available in Bangkok only – will be expanded across 13 provinces: Chon Buri, Rayong, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Nong Khai. The other 59 provinces nationwide would be covered over the next six months.