AIS meeting NBTC to secure train services

AIS meeting NBTC to secure train services

Adjacent spectrum ranges spell trouble

The telecom regulator plans to meet Friday with Advanced Info Service (AIS), a transport agency and the two companies that operate electric train services regarding spectrum filter equipment installation to ensure that the 2600-megahertz spectrum range does not disturb mass transit services.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC), which operates the skytrain, is required to install the spectrum filter equipment, a process expected to conclude within the next few months. BTSC is part of BTS Group.

The skytrain service occupies three spectrum slots -- 2424-2429MHz, 2457-2462MHz and 2477-2482MHz -- for electrical and signalling systems.

The three slots are close to the 2500-2600MHz range AIS won in last month's 5G spectrum licence auction.

Skytrain services previously used the 2485-2495MHz range for the electrical and signalling systems, but they were migrated to the other three slots after the range was found to be interfering with the 2300MHz range that Total Access Communication (DTAC) was using under a partnership deal with state telecom enterprise TOT.

AIS, BTSC, the Rail Transport Department and Bangkok Expressway and Metro, which runs the Blue and Purple electric train lines, will be asked to join the discussion on Friday.

"The related parties need a formal discussion and preparation process to ensure readiness before real commercial 5G usage on mobile devices happens," Mr Takorn said.

BTS plans to partially install the spectrum filter equipment before June, but 5G adoption by major mobile operators is likely to happen sooner, he said.

At the Feb 16 auction, True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) also won 90MHz of bandwidth on the 2600MHz band (on the 2600-2690MHz range), but the range is not near the three slots BTS uses. TUC is not required to attend Friday's meeting.

On Feb 25, the Rail Transport Department joined BTS and AIS in testing the 2600MHz spectrum for mobile services at Siam station. The results showed no impact on rail service.

Wasit Wattanasap, head of nationwide operations and support at AIS, said the test will be conducted continuously to increase passenger confidence.

Surapong Laoha-Unya, chief executive of BTSC, said the company works closely with AIS to prevent interruptions and they will carry out measures to prevent disruptions to skytrain operations.

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