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NEWS UPDATES 24 August 2010

Foreign-owned firm to make Thai 3G bid

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Total Access Communication, commercially known as DTAC, with a majority ownership by Norway's Telenor, is braving the nationalistic lurch of Thailand’s National Telecommunications Commission by entering the 3G spectrum auction slated for the end of September.

Previous reports had it that DTAC and AIS, the two largest mobile phone operators in Thailand and both with foreign ownership, might file an injunction to stop the auction because of the sudden “nationalistic” rules put down by the commission that seemed to favor the third-ranked and domestically owned True Corp.

Thailand's second-largest mobile phone operator said yesterday its board approved plans to bid for a 3G mobile phone licence when they become available. It will make the bid through its wholly-owned unit Dtac Internet Services Co, Total Access said.

The telecom firm may also seek a business alliance with mobile virtual network operators, applications and content production outfits to serve the increasingly competitive environment and emerging regulatory hurdles.

Petter Furberg, the chief commercial officer, said DTAC had an advantage in that it had already executed extensive 3G rollouts and operations in other countries and learned lessons that would allow it to avoid pitfalls in 3G planning and service in Thailand.

He admitted many challenges lay ahead and that there would be no short-term windfall considering the infrastructure investment, price competition in the local market and regulatory hurdles.

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