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Thailand raises US$1.4 billion in long-awaited 3G mobile auction

BANGKOK -- Thailand raised 41.6 billion baht (US$1.4 billion) Tuesday in a long-awaited auction of third-generation (3G) mobile telephone operating licenses, regulators said.

Leading telecom firms Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (Dtac) and True Move all secured licenses in the sale, which critics tried to block because of fears of a lack of competition in the bidding.

A business dispute meant that as other nations move to introduce faster 4G technology, Thailand has yet to roll out a proper 3G service, more than a decade after it was first launched in Japan.

The government sold all 45 megahertz of bandwidth on offer. It had set a minimum price of 4.5 billion baht for each five-megahertz block.

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