DTAC teases plan for 26GHz 5G licences

DTAC teases plan for 26GHz 5G licences

Home internet with fibre-like speed on tap

Total Access Communication (DTAC) vowed yesterday to launch a home-based ultra-high-speed broadband service by June on the 26-gigahertz range it secured in the 5G spectrum licence auction.

Last Sunday's auction saw the country's third largest mobile operator secure two out of 49 licences put up for bid. The service is expected to deliver fibre-like speed of up to 1 gigabit per second in selected locations.

DTAC also aims to deploy a 5G network on the 700-megahertz range to bring coverage to rural areas in the second half of the year, said chief executive Sharad Mehrotra.

Mr Mehrotra declined to speculate on the consequences once bigger rivals launch 5G services on mobile devices using the 2600MHz range.

"Each operator's 5G auction plan and business roadmap comes with a different strategy of game play," he said.

Mr Mehrotra was speaking at a news briefing on DTAC's business plans in the wake of the 5G auction.

DTAC also secured state telecom TOT's 2300MHz band for 4G LTE services through an agreement that expires in 2025.

Mr Mehrotra offered no concrete details about the company's plan to develop its 2300MHz network, which could pave the way for 5G adoption.

An industry veteran who requested anonymity said a price war over 4G promotional packages may be unavoidable, as DTAC needs to retain its subscriber base as bigger rivals step up efforts to lure DTAC customers to their own 5G services.

DTAC secured two licences on the 26GHz range, each containing 100MHz of bandwidth, in Sunday's auction.

The acquisition, Mr Mehrotra said, bolsters DTAC's portfolio, which already includes mid and low bands.

"Acquiring 5G spectrum is just the start of the journey, with much more to come every quarter this year," he said. "Our goal is to never stop improving on connectivity solutions."

According to Mr Mehrotra, DTAC plans to expand cell sites for the 2300MHz range from 17,000 base stations to more than 20,000 this year.

DTAC also wants to roll out ultra-high- speed massive MIMO technology at high-traffic locations nationwide to enhance mobile services for customers.

An industry analyst said DTAC may opt to develop 5G service on its 2300MHz spectrum, though such a move could require consent from TOT and approval by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

DTAC could also target the 1800MHz range for 5G service, the analyst said, but it has only 10MHz of bandwidth on the range. The company may also need to consider developing 5G service on other ranges, including 2100MHz and 700MHz, for use on mobile devices, the analyst said.

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