AIS follows DTAC in cutting 3G budget

2 Oct 2008

Advanced Info Service (AIS) has scaled down its 3G investment plans to a quarter of original estimates, in response to the worldwide banking crisis and local economic factors, in a similar move to that announced by cellular rival DTAC earlier this week, reports the Bangkok Post. AIS, Thailand’s mobile market leader by subscribers, now plans to spend USD150 million on developing 3G UMTS-900 services by mid-2009 including the rollout of a maximum of 300 base stations in ten provinces, with commercial 3G services in the capital Bangkok scheduled to be launched this quarter. The new budget is a far cry from AIS’s original plan to invest USD600 million in Bangkok and 20 provinces. President Wichian Mektrakarn said the operator now needed to reconsider future investments as shareholders had raised doubts about the necessity of full-scale commercial 3G services in Thailand. ‘In the current economic situation, interest costs for borrowing money from foreign institutions will be high,’ he said.