3G service officially launched
Mobile phone operator Advanced Info Service (AIS) officially launched the first "real" third-generation mobile broadband service in Thailand on Tuesday.
- Published: 7/05/2013 at 06:39 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
AIS is the first operator introducing full 3G service in Thailand. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
The 3G service on the international standard 2.1-gigahertz frequency opened in Bangkok and 20 provinces on AIS' 5,000 3G base stations.
Third-ranked operator True Move will roll out its full commercial 3G service on the 2.1-GHz frequency on Wednesday and second-ranked Dtac will announce its plan on Thursday.
Upgrading to 3G service will allow users faster data transfer and provides improved voice clarity.
The three operators joined an auction on Oct 16, 2012, and paid 41.625 billion baht in total, just 2.78% above the reserve price for the spectrum. The auction sparked criticism and unproved charges of collusion, ending with court cases that included the regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC).
All court cases failed, and licenses were issued in December. They are good until December 2027.
The three firms announced earlier they would spend a combined 130 billion baht on 3G network rollout, extended fully across the country within three years
AIS chief executive Wichian Mektrakarn said the company, through its subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network, spent just four months installing base stations in 20 main provinces, with enough capacity for 10 million users.
The 3G network will cover 70% of the country's population by the New Year, and 90% within a year under its 70-billion-baht 3G network expansion project, two years faster than the NBTC's requirements, Mr Wichian said.
Present 2G subscribers to the AIS network can keep their numbers if they upgrade to 3G service.