Thai state-run telco TOT plans to launch its expanded 3G mobile network on 24 February, although with a total of 4,000 W-CDMA base stations across the country, lower than the 5,320 total originally scheduled, the company’s board chairman Udom Puasakul has announced. The remainder of the 2100MHz base stations are now set to enter commercial service in May. TOT also confirmed that it expects to begin a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network trial using its 2300MHz frequency spectrum around the same time as the national 3G launch, with up to 200 LTE-equipped base stations ‘focusing on Bangkok and the provinces where high bandwidth usage is prevalent’ to be switched on by March. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that TOT’s 2100MHz spectrum has previously been utilised for 4G trials launched by private sector mobile operator AIS.
TOT’s board also disclosed that it has approved hiring a consultant to advise on its planned second phase 3G/4G network rollout, with up to THB30 billion (USD1 billion) investment tentatively earmarked for a further 15,000 base stations, partly on a site sharing basis with other network operators.