State-run Thai telco TOT has revealed a plan to launch a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband trial by the end of this year. TOT chairman Panthep Chamrasromran said the trial will use 2300MHz band frequencies, and will involve two unnamed private sector firms deploying radio access equipment for 400 locations (200 sites each) and renting TOT’s backbone network to provide services to end-users. The Bangkok Post reports that the trial will cover central Bangkok and some major provinces, with each private sector company expected to submit their business proposals this week, while TOT remains in discussion with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) for permission to reuse 30MHz of an existing 64MHz allocation of 2300MHz spectrum for 4G services.
Alongside the LTE plan, TOT’s latest 3G investment plan will be submitted to its board on 17 September 2012 for approval. Under a delayed second phase of TOT’s HSPA network investment programme, it plans to roll out 5,200 3G base stations nationwide by November 2012, while extending coverage through infrastructure sharing with private operators. Furthermore, an expansion plan for 200,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, as part of the government’s free public Wi-Fi project, will be considered by TOT’s board.