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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        11  January 2011

Bidding for Thai 3G service starts

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Four companies submitted bids yesterday for the Telephone Organization of Thailand's (TOT) 3G wireless broadband nationwide expansion worth 19.98 billion baht as expected earlier.

They are the SL consortium, which comprises Samart Corporation and Loxley Plc, with Huawei Technology supplying the network and equipment; the AU consortium, consisting of Advanced Information Technology (AIT) and United Communications (Ucom); Ericsson (AS Associate); and the Chinese ZTE consortium (a group of ZTE and Forth Corporation).

TOT will announce the qualified bidders who meet the technical and commercial terms within 10 days. An e-auction is scheduled on January 28, and TOT hopes to sign the contract with the winner between February 15-18.

The state telecom enterprise's 3G project has three parts: 17.44 billion baht for procurement of network equipment, 540 million as a reserve and 2 billion to upgrade TOT's 3G network in Bangkok. Within 180 days of the contract signing, the 3G service could be available in 13 provinces: Chon Buri, Rayong, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Phitsanulok, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Nong Khai.

The remaining provinces would be covered over the next six months.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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