[bangkok post] In a huge, shock surprise, the three biggest yuppiephone companies were the only survivors in the pre-bid qualification for the country's first three third-generation (3G) mobile phone licences; in the biggest anti-climax since the failure of the national team to reach the World Cup, Advanced Info Service, Dtac and True Move strode into the offices of the National Telecommunications Commission, plunked down 1.28 billion baht for the right to bid at the auction on Sept 20, and strode out; of course there was absolutely no collusion in any of this, that would be against the law; the only wrinkle is that the bottom bidder in the auction will have to wait a few months to get its licence, because you have to keep up appearances that there's actually a competition under way.
The big loser was Win Win NGV; the firm tried to buy a 3G bidding paper, it really did, but it just couldn't come up with the 1.28 billion baht required; no one had heard of Win Win before the pre-bids were called, nor of other firms which threatened to submit a bid: Millcom, Sararnrut, Kao Luk Bamboo Orchid, Apichai Chachaval and Java Soft Vision; it seems likely we won't hear of them again, either.
Here's a thought from the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) about that intimidation of foreigners by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC): fuhgeddabout it!; Somkiat Tangkitvanich, TDRI president for vice, called for a new telecom law to specifically authorise 100 percent foreign-owned companies in the telecoms business; for one thing, it would be fair and 2010; in the second place, there would be no use of nominees now, would there?; "
[I]f foreigners owned firms, it would be more stable than having them in Thai hands," because every country that allows foreign-owned telecoms firms has competitive, consumer-friendly services.
Who would have guessed that anyone would try to manipulate stock prices of telecoms firms in the leadup to the incompetent 3G auction _ apart from everyone that is?; the Securities and Exchange Commission was shocked to find out that companies said they were going to bid for a 3G licence and then pulled out at the last second; the threats to bid pushed up the stocks of certain companies, who then didn't bid (and saved 1.28 billion baht for deposit) but took the stock market profits without complaining.
A week after the Securities and Exchange Commission told them about it, the Stock Exchange of Thailand "expressed concern" and wrung its figurative hands over all that stock manipulation that went on in the leadup to the bidding for 3G yuppiephone licences; the scary part is that the National Telecommunications Commission had to tell the SEC to tell the SET what was going on inside the SET's own trading rooms; NTC commissioner Prasert Apipunya said yet again there were, er, unusual movements of shares of certain telecoms companies right before the submission of bidding documents _ and none of those companies was a serious bidder for a 3G licence; not to name any names, but if any names were mentioned, they would note that after Jasmine International, Loxley and Samart bluffed their 3G bids, their share prices rose 220 percent, 51 percent and 45 percent, respectively, but let's not look for scapegoats.
No 2 yuppiephone network Dtac of Norway said its cash flow was improving thanks to cost-cutting inside the firm and increased revenue from non-voice services; in the six months up to July 1, Dtac told shareholders, it had increased its lunch-money fund from 16 billion to 17 billion baht.
No 1 yuppiephone network Advanced Info Service of Shingapore and No 2 network Dtac of Norway finally, finally worked out a 50-satang agreement; that will be the interconnection charge that your CAT Telecom will pay the two big guys to carry calls across their networks by No 4 operator Hutch; CAT Telecom had initial proposed paying 26 satang a minute for the service, and it took months for AIS and Dtac to stop laughing and wipe the tears from their eyes.
Digital marketing specialist Thomas Idea predicted that online advertising would be 15 percent of all advertising by next year; company CEO and senior consultant Uraiporn Cholsirirungskul said there had been a sudden shift in media spending this year, as a surge in Internet users put 18 million Thais online; she estimated that ad spending this year will be about 90 billion baht, with 1.8 billion baht dumped on the Internet; online advertising will rise to 13.5 billion baht in 2011, she predicted.
Absolutely no collusion