Thailand’s largest cellco by users Advanced Info Service (AIS) has announced in a press release that it has switched on commercial voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services across all 77 provinces in the country, giving users with capable devices ‘crystal clear’ HD voice quality, lower background noise, faster voice call connection times and the ability to access mobile internet simultaneously to a VoLTE call. Conversations can also be switched between voice-only and video ‘immediately’. Initially, AIS is offering VoLTE support on a limited range of smartphones including Samsung S7 EDGE, S7, S6 EDGE and S6, but says that VoLTE will gradually become available on other smartphone models.
AIS has also begun marketing its newly upgraded LTE network as ‘4.5G’, claiming that its customers can now access connection speeds at ‘up to 550Mbps’. Following recent rapid rollouts with technology vendors including Huawei of China, AIS highlighted in a press release that its LTE services are now available in all 77 provinces, whilst its highest LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) speeds are based on 4×4 MIMO technology, Carrier Aggregation (CA) on 1800MHz and 2100MHz, and other technologies including LTE-U/LAA standards (Unlicensed-LTE / Assisted Access License). AIS added that potential peak speeds will grow to 1Gbps ‘from April’. The partners also disclosed plans to expand the commercial ‘4.5G’ service area in Bangkok and major provinces, especially in areas such as business/shopping centres. Whilst the highest speeds are currently supported on data-only devices (routers etc), AIS is releasing a smartphone that supports its top ‘4.5G’ speeds in April.
Meanwhile, Thai newspaper The Nation highlights rival operator True Corp’s new 4G LTE marketing campaign (under its True Move H banner), with new user packages designed to take advantage of its LTE-A speeds. True boasts that it can offer the largest 4G bandwidth, with 55MHz on the 850MHz, 900MHz 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectra to provide high speed services nationwide. Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of True Corp, said the company would invest THB58 billion over two years, while the operator currently has around 4,000 base stations on its new 900MHz network (following its 900MHz tech-neutral licence win in December), which will cover 98% of the population by May.