CAT Telecom will spend THB800 million (USD25 million) this year to expand the coverage and data transmission capacity of its CDMA2000 1x network in 51 provinces, reports Thai newspaper The Nation. The expansion will focus on northern and rural areas not covered by fixed line broadband services, said board spokesman Pongsapat Pongcharoen, following the board’s approval of the investment last Friday. Of the total, THB220 million will be used to triple maximum data transmission speeds to 3Mbps and increase network capacity to serve 500,000 data users. The remainder is earmarked for coverage expansion, said president Phisal Jorphochaudom. The ‘CAT CDMA’ branded provincial service, which offers 3G 1xEV-DO high speed wireless data coverage in selected areas, currently has just 40,000 voice and data users. State-owned CAT has yet to reach a final agreement with Hutchison Telecom International Ltd (HTIL), its joint venture partner in Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia, on a planned nationwide integration of their respective 1x/EV-DO networks.