October 29th saw the end of the pre-qualification period for Thailand’s upcoming digital licence auctions. The local regulator now has 45 days in which to decide which will go through.
However, the number of applications was lower than first expected. A total of 33 companies paid for the pre-qualification documents but only 29 submitted bids.
The Bangkok Post reported that among the withdrawals was Chan 25 Co, owned by Surang Prempree, former managing director of Bangkok Broadcasting and Television Co (BBTV), which operates Channel 7.
Six companies filed bids for children’s channels, 10 for news channels, 16 for variety standard-definition (SD) channels, and nine for variety HD channels.
Bidders submitted their documents and paid 10 per cent of the starting price in each category, via bank guarantees, ahead of the auctions which will take place in the middle of December. The auctions themselves will be based on the highest starting price. They will start with variety HD, variety SD, news and then children’s channels.
The starting price for a variety HD channel is 1.51 billion Thai baht (about $49m), followed by 380 million baht for variety SD channel, 220 million baht for news channel and 140 million baht for a children’s channel.