As 3G looms, True bolsters wired service

Fixed-line broadband getting a speed boost

True Corporation is boosting the speed of its fixed-line broadband to make it 10 times faster than mobile broadband in anticipation of stiff competition from third-generation (3G) commercial wireless service starting next month.

The company, through its broadband arm True Online, will raise its broadband speed by 30% by June to deal with the arrival of 3G wireless broadband on the 2.1-gigahertz frequency.

"We want our services to be 10 times faster than 3G, a normal competitive rate for fixed broadband operators," said Charoen Limkangwanmongkol, the managing director of True Online.

To compete with mobile 3G, True is on the verge of upgrading its current broadband speed to 13 Mbps from 10 Mbps for an unchanged service tariff of 590 baht a month.

Mr Charoen said fixed broadband is unlikely to see a significant impact from 3G thanks to the faster speed of fixed broadband.

True will spend 2 billion baht this year to expand its broadband network coverage to 4.2 million households in 61 provinces from 53 provinces now.

The company will spend 10 billion baht from 2014-16 to expand its broadband network nationwide, particularly in rural areas.

Mr Charoen said True plans to overtake TOT Plc for leadership in upcountry markets.

True has a 36% share of the overall fixed broadband market and a 66% share in Bangkok alone.

"By 2016, we plan to lead the market with a 65% share nationwide," said Mr Charoen.

True expects to add 300,000 subscribers this year compared with 235,000 new customers last year, bringing its total to 1.9 million by year-end.

With Bangkok's broadband market already saturated, upcountry clients will constitute 80% of new customers.

True's broadband revenue is forecast to rise by 28% this year from 12.2 billion baht last year.

Bangkok accounted for 80% of last year's revenue.

True Online reported 28 billion baht in overall revenue in 2012 - 40% from broadband and the rest from fixed-line telephone and corporate internet service.

Thailand's fixed-line broadband market, valued at 35 billion baht last year, is set to grow by 15-20% this year.

About 20% of the 22 million households in the country had broadband access in 2012.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter