Thai state-run telco TOT has approved three companies to operate as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) over its new 3G network which is scheduled for launch in the country’s capital this week, reports the Bangkok Post. Loxley, Samart I-Mobile and 365 Communications have obtained licences from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to provide MVNO services over the infrastructure of TOT, which has committed to allocating 100,000 mobile numbers to each reseller. TOT currently has 548 W-CDMA/HSPA base stations in Bangkok, which were upgraded from the 2G network of GSM subsidiary Thai Mobile, with a 3G network capacity of 500,000 subscribers. Two other MVNO licence applicants, IEC International and M Consultant Corporation are awaiting approval from the regulator.
Meanwhile, the Post wrote that Loxley will promote its service under the ‘I-Kool’ brand with a marketing promotion budget of THB100 million (USD3 million), targeting mobile broadband users and multimedia content subscribers, as well as launching a range of niche applications including video surveillance, mobile payment, corporate and mobile push e-mail, automatic meter management, industrial automation, telemedicine and remote vehicle monitoring. Samart I-Mobile plans to market its MVNO service under a package that would include its ‘i-Mobile’ branded handsets and mobile broadband-driven applications such as video chat and social networking aimed at competing directly with existing ADSL-based fixed broadband access providers. 365 Communications has budgeted THB400 million to promote its ‘365’ brand in its first year after launch, also targeting social networking and broadband content users.