TOT plans NBTC workaround as six players enter 2300-MHz beauty contest

Credit: HQuality /

State telco TOT Corporation has announced that six players – including all three major telcos – have submitted bids for the 2300 MHz beauty contest, adding that it intends to get approval from the Attorney General rather than the telecoms regulator.

TOT VP Rungsun Channarukul said that in addition to AIS, Dtac and TrueMove, Tantawan Mobile, TUC RMV for 2300 MHz Corporation and Mobile LTE have submitted business plans out of the 13 who applied initially. Up for grabs is 60 MHz for ten years.

TOT will now submit the business plans to its two consultants: Detecon Asia-Pacific (for engineering scoring) and Primestreet Advisory (for financial scoring) to score the business plans of the bidders in the beauty contest. Engineering is 40% of the total score and financials 60%.

A shortlist of eligible bidders will be announced on April 12 before ten days of further negotiations will take place with the winner between April 18-28.

However, Rungsun said that the winner and other bidders may be called to the next stage if their scores are close.

TOT expects the decision to be final by May, the network installed by Q3 this year and commercial operations to start by Q4.

Despite the full board of telecoms regulator NBTC rejecting TOT’s 2300-MHz business plan because it violates Section 46 of the NBTC act (the no subletting clause), Rungsun said that he was confident that the project could proceed as long as they complied with Section 46, without elaborating on the point.

However, in an unexpected twist, the TOT VP said that the NBTC would not be consulted on the contract but instead TOT would send the contract to the Attorney-General for approval instead and would only inform the NBTC that it has been approved.

Incidentally the current board of the telecoms regulator NBTC will expire in October this year.

Meanwhile, TOT also outlined its super secure security procedures to safeguard the bidding documents and prevent any changes or collusion.

Rungsun told reporters that the bidding documents were kept safe in Room 8 on the third floor of TOT building #9 at their headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road. Three locks need to be opened before the documents can be accessed. TOT holds the first key, Detecon Asia-Pacific the second and the third is jointly held by the two consultants.

TOT has also installed four CCTV cameras, two inside the room and two outside for maximum security.

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