AIS launches WiFi link with Starbucks

AIS launches WiFi link with Starbucks

AIS chief operating officer Hui Weng Cheong (left) and Murray Darling, managing director of Starbucks Coffee (Thailand), attend the launch yesterday of their partnership to provide free WiFi at 258 Starbucks branches nationwide.
AIS chief operating officer Hui Weng Cheong (left) and Murray Darling, managing director of Starbucks Coffee (Thailand), attend the launch yesterday of their partnership to provide free WiFi at 258 Starbucks branches nationwide.

With the rise of WiFi as a viable alternative to mobile cellular networks, mobile leader Advanced Info Service Plc (AIS) is aggressively boosting its wireless network coverage nationwide.

The move by the country's largest mobile operator is also an effort to offload data traffic from its cellular network and efficiently handle the huge growth of mobile data traffic.

"We plan to increase the number of our WiFi hotspots from 120,000 to 160,000 this year and increase it to 200,000 by 2017," said Hui Weng Cheong, AIS's chief operating officer.

AIS will continue building business partnerships across industries, especially among restaurant chains, in a drive to expand its WiFi network to serve the changing behaviour of consumers who prefer using WiFi over cellular connections because of its cheaper and faster use.

AIS has so far joined hands with various restaurants and famous food chains such as Pizza Hut and Swensen's of Minor Food Group, Amazon Cafe, Burger King and McDonald's.

AIS yesterday announced its latest collaboration with Starbucks Coffee (Thailand) to provide free WiFi access at 258 Starbucks branches nationwide with no registration.

Mr Hui said offering free WiFi access will enhance the digital lifestyle of AIS customers and alleviate the company's network congestion in data networking.

Thailand's mobile data volume has been boosted by successful development of mobile applications and nationwide fourth-generation high-speed wireless broadband networks, he said.

Mr Hui said public WiFi has increasingly became an integral part of the mobile network strategy to improve operators' revenue yield and reduce network costs in order to manage the growth of data profitably.

Murray Darling, managing director of Starbucks Coffee (Thailand), said the company was striving to be a networked brand by building relationships with customers and partners through platforms such as Starbucks Card, Starbucks Rewards, Starbucks mobile apps and free WiFi.

Mr Hui said AIS was waiting for formal approval from its board of directors to join the new auction round for the 900-megahertz spectrum on May 27. A resolution is expected in the next few days.

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