Major private mobile operators confirmed a price cut in their 3G tariff plans by 15-20% as stipulated by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
Skytrain commuters are immersed in their devices. The major firms are ready to offer 3G on the 2.1-gigahertz band this month. THANARAK KHOONTON
But there was no confirmation from operators that all 3G tariff packages will comply with the regulator's requirements.
Mobile leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) said it will start its 3G commercial mobile broadband service on the 2100-megahertz spectrum next Wednesday. Second-ranked Total Access Communication (DTAC) plans to roll out its 3G services one day later.
True Move expects to focus mainly on its True Move H 3G brand on the 850-MHz spectrum under six contracts signed with its concession owner CAT Telecom.
The NBTC last month approved in principle the proposed 3G standard service contracts of the three operators holding licences to operate on the 2.1-gigahertz spectrum.
They are Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), AIS's 3G arm; DTAC Network Co, a DTAC subsidiary; and True Corporation's Real Future.
The 3G licensees must receive approval from the NBTC before launching their services.
The NBTC believes operators slashing prices by at least 15% will save mobile users 54.8 billion baht a year or 822 billion over the 15-year licensing period.
AIS has 35 million subscribers, DTAC 25 million and True Move 18 million.
Wichian Mektrakarn, AIS's chief executive, said AWN is prepared to introduce a slew of promotional tariff packages to meet customer demand.
Pakorn Pannachet, a senior vice-president of DTAC, said prices for his company's 3G tariff plans, data packages in particular, will be lowered as per NBTC requirements.
He said 3G operators will focus on retaining their existing customers the first six months after their commercial launches.
Intense price competition in the local 3G market will begin next year as operators try to convince customers to shift networks, said Mr Pakorn.
True Move already offered a price cut of up to 30% to some customers including students, teachers, soldiers and government employees.
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Writer: Komsan Tortermvasana & Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk