True Move to launch first 4G service in Thailand in Apr

Operator hopes being the first telco to launch 4G in Bangkok will give it an advantage over larger rivals.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Thai operator True Move will launch the country's first 4G mobile service this April starting in Bangkok, in a bid to steal a march on its bigger competitors.

The third largest mobile operator in Thailand said it plans to roll out 300 4G base stations in central Bangkok, and increase this to 2,000 base stations in 15 major cities later this year, the Bangkok Post reported Friday.

Its rivals, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Total Access Communications (TAC), are set to launch their 3G services in April under the new licensing regime, the report noted.

Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of True Move's parent company True Corporation, said its 4G move reflected the operator's long-term spectrum management strategy to better serve consumer demand.

True Move will be the first telco to launch a 4G service in April 2013 in Thailand.

True Move will also focus on expanding its existing 3G network coverage through its partnership with CAT Telecom, the report said. True's subsidiaries, Real Future and Real Move, signed a contract with CAT in 2011 to provide 3G service on the 850MHz (megahertz) frequency.

Suphachai said True Move will have 13,000 3G bases on the 850MHz frequency this year, as well as 5,000 more on the 2.1GHz spectrum.

True Move will launch its upcoming 4G service on the 2100MHz frequency. The company was awarded the 2100 MHz band in October last year by the country's regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said an earlier report by Developing Telecoms.

Just a day ago, NBTC said it was considering adopting form of group or "package bidding" for future spectrum auctions, which allows bidders to make a single bid for a group of frequencies or licensees. This would encourage fair competition among multiple bidders, Settapong Malisuwan, NBTC chairman said.

Current mobile concessions on the 1800MHz and 900MHz spectra are due to expire September this year and September 2015 respectively.

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