AIS to launch 3.5G next month over UMTS-900 platform

10 Apr 2008

Advanced Info Services (AIS) has announced that it will launch commercial 3.5G mobile broadband services for handset users next month, including high speed internet access and video calling, reports the Bangkok Post. The CEO of Thailand’s leading cellco by subscribers, Vikrom Sriprataks, said that the new ‘3GSM Advance’ suite of services would be based on high speed packet access (HSPA) technology utilising the existing 900MHz frequency band. AIS had previously signed an agreement with its GSM concession holder TOT to upgrade the 900MHz network to support W-CDMA/HSPA, whilst regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has given TOT permission to take delivery of 3.5G equipment. AIS expects to introduce mobile broadband services in Chiang Mai on 6 May and in Bangkok in mid-June. The operator’s president Wichian Mektrakarn said AIS could not wait for the NTC to issue 2GHz UMTS licences, expected in the second half of this year. He added that the company had already invested THB600 million (USD19 million) to install HSPA equipment in 20 provinces. AIS’s chief marketing officer Sanchai Teoprasertkul said that its HSPA network would support maximum download speeds of 7.2Mbps, compared with 160kbps on its existing EDGE network, and added that 3GSM Advance would initially be available to post-paid customers, with the aim of signing up 80,000 users by the end of this year. The Shin Corp subsidiary is planning to charge THB3 (USD0.095) per minute for video calls and THB100 (USD3.17) a month for data usage of 500MB. Mr Sanchai added that AIS expected 3GSM Advance to increase non-voice revenues by 20% this year.

Thailand, Advanced Info Service (AIS)