TOT-AIS 3G partnership called unfair and unrealistic

21 Jan 2010

The mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) which have agreed to offer services over state-run TOT’s 3.5G network in Bangkok – Loxley, Samart I-Mobile, 365 Communications, IEC International and M Consultant Corp – have hit out at the announcement by Thailand’s mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) that it will begin offering its users 2100MHz W-CDMA/HSPA services using TOT’s spectrum. AIS said it will partner TOT to begin offering the 2100MHz service on 1 February, augmenting the limited capacity 900MHz UMTS service it currently provides and giving its users a taste of a better range of services, whilst all 2100MHz revenues will initially be transferred to the state firm, pending a potential infrastructure- and/or revenue-sharing agreement if the 3G auction process stalemate continues. The Bangkok Post reports that two of the Bangkok MVNOs said TOT had not told them about the possibility of participation in its HSPA network operation model by AIS, which they added would breach the MVNO agreements, whilst one anonymous executive went as far as declaring: ’We will immediately end our services if TOT allows AIS to join.’ Meanwhile, Vichian Narkseenuan, senior executive vice-president and head of the TOT 3G project, called AIS’s proposed 1 February launch date unrealistic, saying that it would be impossible for AIS to start offering the service by then because there remain more details to be negotiated. Furthermore, the five MVNOs, have so far been allocated a strict limit of 100,000 mobile phone numbers each on TOT’s system, and Vichian pointed out that allowing unlimited data roaming by AIS customers on the TOT network would be impossible, as there are severe limits on its capacity in terms of number of users and the amount of data that can be handled. He cautioned that no firm decisions had yet been reached on the proposed cooperation between TOT and AIS, which would be just for a ‘trial period.’

Thailand, Advanced Info Service (AIS), TOT