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Thailand to start 4G auction on Nov 11, raises base price

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Thailand's telecoms regulator will start the auction of fourth-generation (4G) mobile spectrum on Nov 11 and raised the base prices by 14 per cent to 15.91 billion baht (US$446 million), a top official at the regulator said.

[BANGKOK] Thailand's telecoms regulator will start the auction of fourth-generation (4G) mobile spectrum on Nov 11 and raised the base prices by 14 per cent to 15.91 billion baht (US$446 million), a top official at the regulator said.

The news sent shares in Thailand's two top mobile operators, Advanced Info Service and Total Access Communication, up nearly 2 per cent on Friday, bucking the decline of the main Thai index.

There has been uncertainty around the timing of the auction. The regulator had originally planned to hold it in 2014, but the military government postponed it after taking power last May as officials scrutinised state-owned companies and major projects.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) plans to hold bids for two licences of 15MHz bandwidth each on 1800MHz frequency on Nov 11 after a public hearing is completed, Settapong Malisuwan, NBTC vice chairman, told reporters.

The change in prices represented 80 per cent of estimated real value of the spectrum, up from earlier draft of 70 per cent, while bidding winners are required to fix average tariffs for voice and data services at lower rates under existing 3G licenes, he said.

The NBTC has not decided on terms of bids for another two licences of 900MHz spectrum, pending on a public hearing.

Market was concerned that the recent cabinet reshuffle could further delay the auction.

REUTERS