UIH trials Phuket WiMAX

26 Feb 2008

United Information Highway (UIH), a joint venture between Benchachinda Holding and state-run telco CAT Telecom, held its first trials of 2.5GHz WiMAX wireless broadband services at the Meridien Beach Resort on the island of Phuket last week. The company holds a trial 2.5GHz licence granted by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) last year, but has not received the green light to roll out commercial services. . ‘UIH is still waiting for the clear direction and authorisation from the NTC in order to provide the [WiMAX] service in the future,’ said a company press release. According to Vichai Bencharongkul, managing director of Benchachinda Holding and former CEO of Thailand’s second largest cellco DTAC, UIH plans to invest over USD3 million to bring WiMAX to Phuket, where telephony and broadband services are limited, whilst the company also intends to deploy WiMAX in Bangkok and other cities upon receiving a licence. ‘The company foresees an opportunity in tourism, especially the island area of Phuket…which has high speed broadband access limitations,’ he said in a statement. The target market in Phuket is primarily corporate users, tourists, hotels and resorts, as well as ISPs requiring backhaul for Wi-Fi services. The result of the trial showed that users could connect to the internet at speeds of above 8Mbps. The trial employed tests of both mobile and fixed WiMAX services, with participants including Motorola and Intel. Benchachinda Holding is also a stakeholder in DTAC.