TOT must hurry up 3G rollout, says PM

11 May 2009

The Bangkok Post reports that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is pressing the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) minister to accelerate the development of third-generation mobile services for the benefit of the economy. ICT Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee met with Abhisit last week to discuss 3G progress, including issues concerning funding sources, base stations and bidding processes. Announcements would be made over the next two weeks to enable the project owner, state-run telco TOT, to roll out new services by 16 December this year, she said. The 3G programme is expected to be funded by local financial institutions rather than from overseas, as local banks can offer lower interest rates. Ms Ranongrak plans to consult the Finance Ministry over which financial institutions should provide the estimated THB20 billion (USD580 million) needed to fund the rollout. In a first phase, TOT plans to upgrade its subsidiary Thai Mobile’s 1900MHz network’s 500 base stations in Bangkok and surrounding provinces to 3G. TOT would then progressively expand 3G services to achieve its stated target of 4,700 base stations by the end of the following year.

Thailand, TOT