Bangkok / AFP
Thailand’s 4G expansion was thrown into disarray on Monday after a telecoms company that beat more established rivals at an auction last year failed to meet its first payment deadline, voiding the bid.
The failure is a blow to the country’s junta who had earmarked money from the lucrative auctions for use in key infrastructure projects and helping farmers, many of whom are reeling from low commodity prices and an ongoing drought.
Jasmine International, a new entrant in an already saturated market, surprised many observers in December when it offered an eye-watering 75.7 billion baht ($2.1 billion) for one of two slots being offered on the 900 megahertz waveband.
The company’s share price swiftly dived after the auction, with many analysts fearing it would not be able to meet the steep price tag.