Thailand’s True Corp has announced that it will raise annual investment on its public Wi-Fi wireless broadband access network six-fold to THB1.5 billion (USD48 million) this year to expand coverage in provincial areas, as it aims for 60% growth in its Wi-Fi subscriber base, shared between its cellular and fixed broadband customer divisions. The Wi-Fi CAPEX increase, based on average annual spending, ‘is needed quickly to accommodate increasing mobile data connectivity and to offload 3G and 4G data traffic to Wi-Fi networks,’ said Non Ingkutanon, True’s general manager for broadband services, as reported by the Bangkok Post. ‘We plan to have 1.5 million Wi-Fi customers this year, up from 900,000 last year,’ he said, adding that Wi-Fi revenue is also expected to increase 60% in 2012. Mr Non revealed that True plans to increase its number of Wi-Fi hotspots to 100,000 this year, with 30,000-40,000 ‘upcountry’, in northern/southern provinces. He clarified that currently around half of True’s Wi-Fi users were mobile customers and the rest fixed broadband subscribers, but the company expects 80% of its Wi-Fi use to eventually come from the mobile segment, driven by the uptake of smartphones and tablet computers. Looking at the next evolution of the technology, True has installed trial Wi-Fi 2.0 hotspots and expects a commercial launch in the next two years.
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