Thailand Sells 3G Mobile Licenses After Long Delay

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand has taken a step toward catching up with neighboring countries in mobile communications technology after holding a long delayed auction for 3G licenses.

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Three bidders — subsidiaries of Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication and True Corp. — on Tuesday won the licenses at prices slightly above the minimum allowed price.

They spent about 41.6 billion baht ($1.4 billion) in total for the auctioned bandwidth compared with the 40.5 billion baht minimum price set by Thailand’s communication commission.

Thailand and Myanmar are the only Southeast Asian countries without third-generation mobile networks. Thailand’s 3G auction in 2010 was thwarted after a court said the organizer lacked the authority to sell the licenses.

The formal auction results will be announced within three days. The licenses will be issued within 90 days.