State-owned Thai telco TOT will not sign contracts for its second-phase 3G mobile network expansion until next year, while it continues to consider possible partnership models with either its existing mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partner Samart i-Mobile or the country’s largest cellco Advanced Info Services (AIS), the Bangkok Post reports, citing TOT’s president Yongyuth Wattanasin. TOT is looking to upgrade existing infrastructure as well as expand coverage of the 2100MHz network, as it currently has 42Mbps (DC-HSPA+) capability on 1,000 base stations out of a total of 5,320, while it intends to roll out a further 13,000 to 15,000 cell sites under the second-phase rollout. A sister division of Samart i-Mobile was part of a consortium which deployed part of TOT’s existing 3G network, whilst AIS operates its 2G services under a build-transfer-operate (BTO) agreement with TOT and is looking at forming a 3G/4G rollout/operating partnership with the state-owned company which could be based on a wholesale-resale model similar to the one employed by TOT’s sister telco CAT and True Corp.
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