April 18, 2014 00:00 By Usanee Mongkolporn
True is offering the chance of winning a shiny new Ferrari or a fancy motorcycle to drive customers towards its fourth-generation wireless broadband service.
The campaign is aimed at adding a million 4G subscribers to the 250,000 existing ones by applying 4G Advance Forward packages to compatible smartphones.
"Half of our targeted users will be new subscribers, while the rest will migrate from the 2G or 3G services in the True network," said Papon Ratanachaikanont, True Group’s executive director for strategic business development.
True’s Real Future is the only cellular operator in Thailand currently providing both 3G and 4G services on a 2.1-gigahertz network. TrueMove H has 22.9 million users, including 250,000 on 4G. Its 3G-850-megahertz network currently covers 13,500 sites, while the 4G network covers 2,000 sites in metropolitan Bangkok and 14 main provinces.
True plans to expand the 4G network to at least 2,500 sites this quarter, and to 5,300 nationwide by the end of the year.
Papon said True had budgeted around Bt85 million for the 4G promotion campaign up to October.
Apart from one Ferrari 458 Italia worth some Bt27 million, there are 10 Ducati Monster luxury motorcycles worth around Bt449,000 each included in the lucky draw, and other rewards totalling Bt35 million.
Currently there are about 18 models of 4G phones available in Thailand, and True claims it has about a 45-per-cent share of the more than 3 million 4G-compatible iPhone users.
Meanwhile, Total Access Communication (DTAC) this week conducted a test of a 4G LTE (long-term evolution) system on 2.1GHz, which is under development by its 3G operator DTAC TriNet and will be launched commercially in the near future.
The test was conducted in inner Bangkok areas such as Rama IV, Phya Thai, Sutthisan and Ratchadaphisek roads. The service will eventually cover all areas after ensuring network performance meets international standards. The test included data download and upload speed, voice call quality, and a seamless handover between the 4G LTE and TriNet networks.
Recently DTAC chief executive officer Jon Eddy Abdullah said the telecom firm would spend around Bt300 million to set up 300 base stations for 4G service this year, mainly in Bangkok, using its existing 2.1GHz spectrum. The launch of this 4G-2.1GHz service, which is expected to take place this quarter, is just to serve customers temporarily before obtaining access to the 1,800MHz spectrum.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is scheduled to auction parts of the 1,800MHz spectrum in August. DTAC says it is looking forward to the auction as it needs at least 10MHz bandwidth of that spectrum to launch 4G service fully.