Thailand’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Advanced Info Service (AIS), has posted a 29% year-on-year rise in net profit for the first three months of 2008 to THB5.12 billion (USD168 million), up from THB3.98 billion a year earlier, but almost flat compared to the THB5.13 billion profit in the previous quarter. Service revenues in Q1, excluding interconnection charges (IC), rose by 9.9%, driven by strong growth in the areas of pre-paid, international calls and non-voice services, the Shin Corp subsidiary reported in a statement. Under the recently liberalised system of bilateral interconnection agreements, net IC revenues were THB117 million in the January-March period, and AIS expects the annual 2008 IC figure to fall to between THB400 and THB600 million, down from THB2.5 billion in 2007. To counterbalance this effect, the company made the most recent of a string of end-user tariff increases in early 2008. AIS added 982,000 net new GSM subscribers in the first quarter, up from the 901,000 added in Q4 2007, but significantly down from the 1.568 million net new additions in the year-ago quarter. It ended March 2008 with a total mobile user base of 25.087 million – or a 45.36% share of Thailand’s 55.3 million subscribers, according to TeleGeography. Nearest rival DTAC ended Q1 with 16.656 million customers, or 30.12% of the overall market, after signing up a net 884,000 new users in three months. AIS said in its statement that it is aiming to maintain revenue market share ‘at 50%’ and to deliver 5%-7% service revenue growth in 2008.