AIS to switch 10M customers in first year
Advanced Info Service (AIS) has begun the process to upgrade its customers to the 3G-2.1 gigahertz service, aiming to switch between 8 million to 10 million customers to the 2.1GHz network within the first year.AIS, the largest cellular operator, has already informed customers through several channels about its 2.1GHz broadband cellular service and related details. Its wholly owned subsidiary, Advanced Wireless Network (AWN), is scheduled to launch the 2.1GHz service in May phase by phase. AIS customers can also apply to be upgraded to the service from now on.
A telecom industry source said that AIS, which has more than 35.7 million subscribers, has targeted to move between 8 million to 10 million premium subscribers to AWN's network within this first year.
AWN, and also DTAC Network of Total Access Communication, and Real Future of True Corp are the three holders of the 2.1GHz spectrum licences granted to them by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
A telecom analyst said AIS is under pressure to roll out the 2.1GHz network as fast as possible to move all customers to this new network before its 2G concession ends in September 2015. The fast customer migration is also aimed to improve its own 2G-900MHz service quality, following the constraints of its existing 900MHz spectrum.
AIS has set aside capital expenditure of Bt70 billion for 2013-15, of which 90 per cent is for rolling out the 2.1GHz network for AWN. It aims to have the 2.1GHz network cover 97 per cent of the population within three years, against the licence coverage requirement of 80 per cent of population within four years.
AIS and True want to promote the massive porting of existing subscribers to the planned 2.1GHz networks of their subsidiaries. TrueMove wants to quickly migrate its customers to the 3G-850MHz service of Real Move, another of True's wholly owned subsidiaries, as TrueMove's concession will expire on September 15.
The portability scheme allows users to switch providers while retaining their existing phone numbers.
However, these private cellular operators and also TOT and CAT Telecom have yet to reach a consensus on their joint investment to further expand the porting capacity from the present combined 40,000 porting per day. CAT and TOT see themselves gaining nothing from spending on porting capacity expansion. AIS, DTAC, TrueMove, TOT, and CAT are co-founders of Clearinghouse Co, which handles the porting.