Thailand’s three largest mobile operators – Advanced Info Service (AIS), Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Corp – have indicated their intentions to bid in the upcoming 1800MHz 4G licence auction scheduled for November, alongside one other applicant, Jasmine International, the parent of Thai fixed network operator Triple T Broadband. The Nation newspaper reports that a total of five companies picked up applications from the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC): Advanced Wireless Network (a subsidiary of AIS); DTAC TriNet and DTAC Broadband (both units of DTAC); True Corp’s TrueMove H Universal Communication subsidiary; and Jas Mobile Broadband, a division of Jasmine International. The NBTC will allow any further applicants to pick up bidding documents until 28 September, and will accept submissions to take part in the auction until 21 October. According to the latest reports, the regulator will announce the names of qualified bidders on that date, with licence winners to be decided on 21 November.
Meanwhile, Thai state-owned operator CAT Telecom has withdrawn from both the 1800MHz 4G auction and the upcoming 900MHz licence auction, citing an inability to find a foreign partner, Telecom Asia reports. CAT has indicated that negotiations with potential strategic partners broke down due to uncertainty related to the auction delay and the unclear auction design, while CAT also objected to being forced to declare its budget and receive cabinet approval prior to the auction, which it claimed would prevent it from competing effectively due to the rival bidders knowing its maximum bidding level.