The Bangkok Post reports that Thai cellco DTAC is preparing to launch commercial 3G mobile broadband services in Bangkok in the first quarter of next year. The GSM operator plans to introduce 3G services in three phases. A THB1.2 billion (USD36 million) first phase will cover the capital in the first quarter of 2009 with a network spanning 700 to 800 base stations using the 850MHz frequency band. A second phase would cover Greater Bangkok as well as the populous provinces of Chon Buri and Phuket, followed by a third phase expanding coverage nationwide. The first phase would focus on wireless broadband services available on laptops, whilst 3G handsets would be launched in the second phase. DTAC’s CEO Sigve Brekke said that he did not expect 2100MHz UMTS frequencies to be allocated until late 2009, given Thailand’s delays in establishing a new broadcasting and telecoms regulator. The country’s mobile market leader AIS is already operating 3G mobile services over a small-scale W-CDMA network using the 900MHz band.