TOT opts for 3G trial while flooding persists

14 Nov 2011

State-run telco TOT, faced with continuing delays to its nationwide 2100MHz 3G mobile expansion programme caused by Thailand’s severe flooding, is preparing a free trial service instead of a planned new commercial offering. The Bangkok Post quotes TOT board chairman Panthep Jamradroamrun as saying that the floods were impeding construction of 3G base transceiver stations (BTS), with 1,000 ready for service, compared with the planned 3,500 BTS across 18 provinces. TOT, which offers 3G over a 548-BTS W-CDMA/HSPA network covering Bangkok and environs via five mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), awarded a nationwide rollout contract to the SL consortium in May and originally planned to launch commercial services over the new network on 28 November. It expected to have a total of 5,200 3G base stations nationwide by 2012. Mr Panthep also confirmed that the planned joint construction of 2,000 base stations with mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) has also slowed. The chairman said that TOT, which has so far posed no real commercial threat to private operators offering 800MHz-900MHz 3G services, will use the trial to gain customer feedback, while the state enterprise is aiming to ‘restructure our 3G business plan to be in line with the real situation and current market opportunity.’ He added: ‘Personally, I feel TOT should not begin 3G commercial service now when it is not ready to compete in the market and customers have too many choices.’

Thailand, Advanced Info Service (AIS), TOT