A committee overseeing the tablet computer auction says it will ask the winning Thai bidder to lower its price for tablets supplied to zone 3 in the second phase of the One Tablet per Child scheme.
Chinnapat: Ready to bargain today
The committee will hold a meeting today to discuss an appropriate bargaining price for negotiations with Supreme Distribution (Thailand), said Chinnapat Bhumirat, secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), the agency responsible for procuring the tablets.
Supreme Distribution won the bid for zone 3 to supply 426,683 tablets at a cost of 2,908.24 baht apiece, only 0.4% lower than the median price of 2,920 baht for Mathayom 1 students in central and southern provinces.
Last week, Obec organised a one-day electronic auction to procure 1.63 million tablets for the second phase of the scheme.
While Mr Chinnapat declined to elaborate on details, an industry source said the committee wants to ask Supreme Distribution for a reduction of 300 baht per tablet.
Mr Chinnapat added that the committee is concerned about the very low winning tablet prices of the Chinese firm Shenzhen Yitoa, saying the rate may lead to losses for the company.
Shenzhen Yitoa Intelligent Control Co won a bid in zone 1 to supply 431,105 tablets for 1,953.12 baht apiece, which was 28.2% lower than the median price of 2,720 baht each, for Prathom 1 students in central and southern provinces.
It also won the bid in zone 2 to provide 373,637 tablets at a cost of 2,103.64 baht apiece, which was 22.7% lower than the median price, for Prathom 1 students in northern and northeastern provinces.
But Panuwat Khantamoleekul, the managing director of Supreme Distribution, said he will tell the committee today his company cannot lower the price. The gap between the median price of tablets for Prathom 1 and Mathayom 1 students is only US$6, while the cost gap between the two tablets is $20.
Tablet specifications for Prathom 1 students include a seven-inch display, dual-core 1.5-gigahertz processor, one gigabyte of memory and 8 GB of internal storage. Specifications for Mathayom 1 students are an eight-inch screen, dual-core 1.5-GHz processor, 1 GB of memory and 16 GB of internal storage.
The categories support Android 4.0, Windows RT, Windows 8 and iOS 6.0.
He also questioned why the winning prices of the Chinese firm's tablets for zones 1 and 2 are different although the tablets are for Prathom 1 students.
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Writer: Lamphai Intathep & Suchit Leesa-Nguansu