AIS says it needs more cellular bandwidth to serve expanding customer base
Advanced Info Service says it needs more bandwidth to serve its ever-increasing base of mobile-phone subscribers and the company's business plan despite having already secured parts of the 2.1-gigahertz and 900-megahertz spectra.
Chief executive officer Wichian Mektrakan said yesterday that AIS was ready to bid for any new spectrum licences made available by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.
The NBTC is expected to call a bid for the 1,800MHz spectrum next year after the concessions currently using it, held by TrueMove and Digital Phone Co, have expired at the end of September. DPC is a subsidiary of AIS.
AIS, which has more than 35 million subscribers, operates a second-generation cellular service on 17.5MHz bandwidth of the 900MHz spectrum under a TOT concession, which will expire in March 2015. AIS has also deployed part of DPC's network capacity to back up its 2G service. DPC has about 80,000 subscribers.
Another AIS subsidiary, Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), is one of the three holders of NBTC's 2.1GHz licences. The licence contains 15MHz bandwidth of the spectrum.
Wichian said AIS would also enable roaming between customers of AIS and AWN.
Recently AIS parent InTouch said the cellular operator would spend at least Bt20 billion this year to establish third-generation service on the 2.1GHz spectrum nationwide for AWN. AWN will set up about 10,000 3G base stations this year, of which about 6,000 will cover 18 major provinces in the first half. The network in this phase will cater to about 5 million subscribers.
AWN, which is expected to launch the 3G service in the second quarter, is expected to have between 10 million to 14 million subscribers this year.