DTAC, Thailand’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, has revealed plans to increase its data network capacity by 30% this month and complete the upgrade of its entire 10,000 base station GSM network with EDGE technology in April, the Bangkok Post reports. The network is known to be at least 95% EDGE-enabled already, whilst the data capacity expansion is expected to allow DTAC to accommodate more than 300,000 users simultaneously. Pakorn Pannachet, head of DTAC’s value-added service division, said the company expected the number of its data users to increase by one million to five million by the end of this year, fuelled by an expected increase of between 30% and 40% in smartphone handset sales. The operator also expects data revenues to contribute more than 10% of its total earnings this year, a slight increase from 2009.
The Post also reported that DTAC ‘officially’ launched the Apple iPhone handset over its network yesterday, with a marketing budget of THB100 million (USD3 million) to promote take-up of the device via expanded distribution channels, and with new packages launched specifically for iPhone users, including plans with unlimited internet usage. The Telenor-backed cellco aims to sign up a minimum of 175,000 iPhone users by the end of 2010. It currently has 87,775 iPhone subscribers out of a total of 900,000 smartphone users, Pakorn said. In response, third-ranked cellco True Move – which was the first in Thailand to distribute the iPhone – has introduced a new iPhone package including unlimited data usage over its GPRS/EDGE and Wi-Fi networks.