The minimum price for a 5MHz block of 3G mobile spectrum in the 2100MHz band is likely to be set at above THB4 billion (USD126 million) in Thailand’s upcoming licence auction in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a representative of the regulator responsible for fixing the licensing fees and conditions, the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). Quoted by The Bangkok Post, NBTC vice-chairman Settapong Malisuwan indicated that the price benchmark will be closely in line with the figure previously proposed by the regulator’s predecessor, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which had put forward a figure of THB12.8 billion for a 15MHz 3G licence. Under the NBTC’s licensing framework, nine 5MHz bandwidth slots are up for grabs in simultaneous ascending-bid auctions, with a 20MHz individual bidder spectrum cap. ‘An exact reserve price with a new draft of the information memorandum (IM) for the 3G auction will definitely be released by the [telecoms] committee [of the NBTC] this month,’ added Colonel Settapong, who also chairs the committee. Once the committee finishes its consideration of the draft, it will be passed to the watchdog’s board for approval. The NBTC will hold a public hearing on the draft within 30 days after receiving board approval, and the IM will be released on the NBTC website before being published in the Royal Gazette by August as planned. ‘A 3G licence auction should be on schedule by the fourth quarter,’ the Colonel added.