Frequent travelers to Thailand might want to pay attention. According to the BBC, Thailand has just completed auction of its 3G mobile network for about US$1.4 billion. The auction was first announced in 2010, but was delayed by the country's unstable political climate as well as complaints that Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission had the authority to conduct the bidding.
Travelers to Thailand might notice that the country has been lagging behind neighboring countries when it comes to the implementation of 3G technology. While the auction completion means that 3G networks for Thailand will be arriving soon, the move also invited a sizable dose of criticism from the local press.
The Bangkok Post and The Nation carried articles that quoted analysts saying that reserve prices for the bandwidth blocks were lower than their actual costs, and that local network providers did not have to compete against each other for the blocks.
"Each operator ends up paying less than 1 billion baht a year for the licenses, which is very cheap. It will not benefit consumers. It will only help the operators' bottom line," says Somkiat Tangkitvanich, President of Thailand's Development Research Institute.