Four bidders confirmed for 900MHz auction after Mobile LTE drops out; TOT shortlists two mobile partners

23 Oct 2015

Four Thai companies submitted bidding documents by yesterday’s deadline for two 900MHz mobile licences up for grabs in next month’s technology-neutral auction, reports the Bangkok Post. The country’s three largest mobile operators are bidding: Advanced Info Service (AIS, via Advanced Wireless Network), Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC, via DTAC TriNet) and True Corp (via TrueMove H Universal Communication); alongside Jas Mobile Broadband, a start-up subsidiary of Jasmine International, the parent of Thai fixed network operator Triple T Broadband (3BB). Thai start-up cellular consortium Mobile LTE had earlier picked up documents but later confirmed it had decided not to enter the 900MHz auction, which is scheduled for 12 November, one day after Thailand’s 1800MHz 4G licence contest.

Mobile LTE earlier this week said it cancelled its proposed 900MHz bid in order to concentrate on a separate bid to become a strategic mobile service partner of state-owned telco TOT, having lined up to compete alongside AIS, True Corp, Samart and Loxley for a public-private contract. Reuters reported this week that TOT has shortlisted two potential partners – unnamed – from the original list of five, with whom it will jointly operate its mobile service and telecom towers businesses, while it aims to make a final selection in November. ‘We are now negotiating with two potential partners,’ acting TOT president Montchai Noosong told a news conference, but declined to identify the firms. It was also announced this week by Thailand’s ICT minister that TOT had ‘reached agreement’ on a new network partnership framework with AIS – which until September operated 2G services under a build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession issued by the state telco – but this is yet to be confirmed by either operator, whilst it is thus far unclear if the minister’s announcement relates to TOT’s strategic mobile partnership contract tender.