Even as India gets ready to announce the final policy guidelines pertaining to 3G spectrum auctioning another Asian country Thailand too is on the verge of conducting similar 3G spectrum auctions this year.
Thailand’s regulator, The National Telecommunications Communications (NTC) plans to acward four licences through the auctioning process in the 2.1 GHz band.
"Everything is still going on track. We are listening to all parties and gathering all voices. The important thing is to put the draft in the Thai Royal Gazette as soon as possible," said Choochart Promphrasid, chairman of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The move to auction has however evoked mixed reactions.
Ironically the opposition is within government agencies as well. Information and Communications Technology Minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee has asked the government to review the policy guidelines. The Minister apprehends that revenues of TOT and CAT Telecom as foreign firms will notch up future revenues. She has asked the state-owned firms to precisely pinpoint the revenue impact os that she can discuss it with the country’s Prime Minister.
"We have to trust TOT. If we don't trust it, who will? Both TOT and CAT have contributed a great deal of revenue to the country. Why don't we give them a chance?" she said.
The current guidelines prohibit state-run PSUs from participating in the auction process.
NTC has allowed foreign companies to bid for the 3G spectrum. However this may face another hurdle as Thailand’s regulations do not allow foreign companies in the telecom industry to have more than 49 % stake.