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Thailand Releases Rules for Digital Radio, TV Auction

NBTC plans to hold auction in third quarter of 2013

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has approved the final draft of the regulations for the proposed license e-auction for those who want to operate commercial digital radio channels and terrestrial digital TV channels, according to The Nation.

The regulations state that bids must be higher than both the initial price and those in the previous bidding round.

The committee also reserves the right to cancel the auction if it believes there are not enough participants — less than or equal to the number of available licenses. The auction may also be cancelled if bidders are disqualified for bidding under the reserve price.

The most recent draft differs than the rules from the October license auction, said the article, which came under fire after three bidders won the nine coveted licenses at lower than expected rates — identical to the reserve price. However, this auction is like the previous in that participants are not allowed to communicate about the auction. Companies also cannot have shared interests or holdings that would decrease competition with the licenses, although those owned by the Finance Ministry are exempt from this.

During the third quarter, the NBTC is expected to auction 24 commercial digital TV licenses, seven of which will be HD variety channels, seven standard definition variety channels, seven SD news channels and three SD children’s channels.