Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thailand - Three 3G service providers selected for TOTnetwork

[bangkok post] TOT Plc has selected three companies to operate the 3G mobile broadband service that it intends to introduce in Bangkok on Thursday.

Loxley Plc, Samart I-Mobile Plc and 365 Communications have obtained licences from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to provide mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services for the state telecom enterprise.TOT is committed to allocating 100,000 mobile numbers to each operator to retail the service. To comply with the law, the state telecom enterprise will act as a network provider instead of a service provider as previously planned.

TOT currently has 548 3G base stations in Bangkok, which were upgraded from 2G technology, with a capacity to serve 500,000 numbers.

TOT also planned to allow two other companies - IEC International and M Consultant Corporation - to offer the service but they have not received licences yet.

The NTC, which is mandated to issue the licences, is now in limbo with only three out of its seven members serving. Even though it is still active, the regulator is unlikely to make any important move before the royal endorsement of the four newly appointed commissioners.

An executive of Loxley said the company would promote its service under the I-Kool brand with a marketing promotion budget of 100 million baht. Target customers would be data users and internet-based content customers.

The company planned to offer value-added applications services including home security such as video surveillance and alarms, mobile payment, corporate and push mail, automatic meter management, industrial automation, telemedicine and remote vehicle monitoring.

Samart I-Mobile plans to market the service under a package that would include its i-Mobile brand handsets and applications to compete directly with existing ADSL service providers.

Targeted customers will be existing data users who want mobile high-speed broadband internet service. Applications would include video messaging, video chat and social networking.

365 Communications will spend 400 million baht to promote its 365 brand in the first year, targeting social networking and content-driven communities.

But Loxley is now considering whether to start providing commercial service on Dec 3 or not as the company saw that the current network coverage would not accommodate premium services.

Wichian Mektrakarn, CEO of Advanced Info Service, welcomed the introduction of TOT's 3G, saying it would encourage Thais to experience the high-speed mobile broadband service.

But he said the limited 3G network service to only in Bangkok would not provide good experience among users due to its signal quality and limited access.

Three selected to run TOT 3G service

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