Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thailand - AIS says 3G service will be limited at first

[bangkok post] Advanced Info Service clarified yesterday that it would limit 3G services on the network of the state telecom enterprise TOT to 10,000 customers.

The country's largest mobile operator intends to begin 3G data roaming with TOT on Feb 1. The prospect has dismayed the five small companies now offering the service for TOT, as they say the network could not handle potentially huge demand from AIS customers.

AIS chief executive Wichian Mektrakarn said the company had already completed some data roaming trials and they had been successful.

He acknowledged that the 3G network of TOT would be congested if all of the company's 6 million data users turned to the network. TOT earlier said its network could handle no more than 500,000 customers.

Mr Wichian said that with strict limits on the number of AIS users, other operators need not worry about the traffic.

In a related development, True Move chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont said the third-ranked mobile operator was also interested in partnering with TOT to provide 3G service.

He said that as far as the regulations of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) were concerned, TOT should open free roaming service with all operators.

True was willing to talk with TOT or CAT Telecom about the issue, he said.

True Corporation, the parent company of True Move, expects to maintain its revenue growth of 3-5% this year from 60 billion baht estimated in 2009, he added.Mr Suphachai said the company had average revenue growth of 3-5% each year. True Corp sees a good prospect for most of its businesses in 2010, with True Move projected to rise by 3%, the same rate as last year.

Broadband business is also expected to see double-digit growth while advertising revenue should improve the TrueVisions pay-TV business by up to 10%. Fixed-line telephones may generate flat growth due to declining numbers of users every year.

Mr Suphachai also expressed the hope that wider 3G service should be able to start by the middle of this year. The company has a budget of 12-15 billion baht for the first phase of its 3G service if it wins a licence.

The company many need to find a business partner after receiving a 3G licence, he added.

AIS says 3G service will be limited at first

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