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Only one firm bids for satellite orbital slot

Only the subsidiary of SET-listed satellite service operator Thaicom yesterday showed up to submit a bid request for satellite orbital slot packages put up for auction on July 24.

TC Space Connect, Thaicom’s subsidiary, is one of the two firms that earlier bought bid envelopes to compete in the auction. The other is mu Space and Advanced Technology, a local satellite and space tech firm. But mu Space did not show up to submit a bid request in line with the schedule yesterday.

There are four packages up for auction.

TC Space Connect wants 119.5°E slot in the third package, which is being used by Thaicom 4 satellite under a concession with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES).

Thaicom’s concession expires in September, after which both Thaicom 4 and Thaicom 6 satellites it operates have to be transferred to the DES Ministry.

Management of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will summarise all the related information to its board in a meeting tomorrow.

A source at the NBTC management who requested anonymity said it is most likely that the NBTC board will have a resolution to postpone the auction as it is still not seen as the most crucial agenda that must be held this month.

It is likely that the planned auction date will be reviewed at the board meeting, the source added.

The source noted only one bidder targeting only one slot is seen as an unattractive move in the auction.

The NBTC allowed bidders to submit their bid requests for the satellite slot packages yesterday.

TC Space Connect submitted the document that it is interested in bidding for 119.5°E slot in the third package and placed a guarantee deposit of 67.7 million baht — calculated from 10% of the reserve price of the package with the highest reserve price or the first.

With only one contender in the auction, speculation is rife that the auction will have to be pushed back.

The DES Ministry earlier suggested the NBTC postpone the auction as the event, which involves many slots, needs thorough and prudent consideration to ensure optimum benefit for the country.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn earlier indicated this crucial auction should be held after the new members of the NBTC board are appointed.

The auction of the four satellite orbital slot packages is a momentous event that marks the transition of the country’s satellite sector from a concession model to a real licensing regime.

The first package consists of 50.5°East and 51°E slots with a reserve price of 677 million baht; the second is 78.5°E with a reserve price of 366.4 million baht; the third involves 119.5°E and 120°E at 393 million baht; and the last is for 126°E and 142°E for 364.6 million.

The NBTC will announce the list of bidders who are qualified from experience and financial capability checks on July 19. Bidder information session and the mock auction will be held on July 21. Bangkok Post

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