(Corrects spectrum wavelength in last paragraph to 1800 MHz from 18000 MHz)
BANGKOK, June 25 (Reuters) - Thailand’s telecoms regulator said on Monday it plans to conduct spectrum auctions in August, seeking to raise $4.56 billion, after revising terms that were initially shrugged off by the Southeast Asian nation’s mobile operators.
The decision comes after three Thailand-based mobile operators said they would sit out of the previously announced 1800 MHz auction that was seeking to raise $3.5 billion, citing onerous terms.
“The conditions are now changed to become tighter, to be more appropriate for the situation and allow for maximum bidding competition,” said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general, National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
The country’s third-ranked mobile operator, Total Access Communications Pcl, will bid in the newly announced 900 MHz auction, Takorn said, sending the company’s shares up nearly 6 percent. The mobile operator, which is 43 percent owned by Norway’s Telenor Group, has concession on two separate licences on the 850 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum which are set to expire in September.
“DTAC is in dialogue with NBTC regarding the announced auction of the low-band 900 MHz spectrum,” DTAC’s Chief Executive Lars Norling said.
NBTC’s revised terms will see nine 5-MHz licences under the 1800 MHz spectrum auction set for August 19 at a lower reserve price of 12.49 billion baht ($379.17 million) each, and one 5-MHz licence of a 900 MHz spectrum for 37.99 billion baht on August 18, seeking to raise a total of 150.36 billion baht.
An operator can hold up to four 1800 MHz licences with a lifetime span of 15 years each.
$1 = 32.9500 baht Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips