Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has approved a plan by the country’s mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) and state-run fixed line and 3G cellular operator TOT to trial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband services using frequencies in the 2.3GHz and 1800MHz bands owned by TOT. Local newspaper The Nation quotes NBTC commissioner Settapong Malisuwan as saying that the watchdog approved a joint application by AIS and TOT to trial LTE services initially on 20MHz of TOT’s total 64MHz bandwidth. The trial will involve deploying 84 LTE cell sites in Bangkok and major provinces and will run for 90 days, with an option to be extended for another 90 days. Settapong added that the NBTC was expecting TOT’s sister CAT Telecom to apply for permits to test LTE in the 1800MHz band in partnership with the country’s second and third largest cellcos Digital Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move (part of True Corp), as well as CAT’s other build-transfer-operate (BTO) licensee Digital Phone Co (DPC, a small subsidiary of AIS). True Corp’s CEO Supachai Chearavanont said the company had already asked for an NBTC permit to test 4G on an 1800MHz system, while it has previously been reported that AIS was planning an LTE trial via its DPC unit.
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