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Thailand Forced to Cancel 1800-MHz Auction

Thai regulator NBTC has been forced to cancel a planned 1800-MHz spectrum auction after none of the market’s three operators registered to participate.

Although True Move, Dtac and AIS all picked up the auction documents, none had filed them by the Saturday deadline, the Bangkok Post reported.

True Move had already expressed plans to sit out of the auction, but Dtac and AIS only revealed their intentions on Friday.

In a statement, AIS said the company “considered the auction terms are not appropriate nor in the best interest of the company at this stage.”

Operators have complained about the high reserve prices – NBTC had set a reserve of 37.45 billion baht ($1.15 billion) per 1800-MHz license.

The decision by all three operators to sit out of the auction has led to suspicions of collusion, and the NBTC had been planning to ask the government to revoke the remedy measures designed to mitigate the impact of Dtac’s imminent concession expiry in response.

But the regulator now plans to reschedule the auction before the concession expires to allow Dtac to prevent having its 2G network cut off.

The regulator is expected to reduce the high reserve price to make the auction a more attractive prospect. – Telecom Asia

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