Thailand’s True Corp ended 2011 with a 3G mobile subscriber base approaching roughly 900,000, revealed the chief operating officer of its 3G mobile division Real Move (branded True Move H), who confirmed a target of more-than quadrupling this figure to four million HSPA users by the end of 2012. Supakit Vuntanadit, as quoted by TelecomAsia, noted that virtually all of the users on the 850MHz W-CDMA/HSPA True Move H network were post-paid at the end of the year as the Real Move division launched its pre-paid option on 27 December. With the introduction of pre-paid the operator will be expecting a rapid acceleration of subscriber take-up of the service, which is offered via a network/marketing partnership with state-owned CAT Telecom. The COO announced that True Move H has expanded 3G coverage to 600 out of Thailand’s 928 districts, with a presence in all 76 provinces nationwide, under a plan to reach 900 districts by the end of the year. True’s subsidiary BFKT (which it purchased from Hutch Thailand in January 2011) is building out the 850MHz W-CDMA/HSPA network on behalf of state-owned CAT telecom which in turn leases it to Real Move under a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement; services are marketed under the True Move H brand.
Supakit said that at the end of 2011 there remained around 400,000 3G W-CDMA/HSPA service users signed up to True Move – as opposed to True Move H – which operates 2G and ‘trial’ 3G services under its original build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession. True Move began pre-commercial 3G operations in 2009, but it plans to eventually migrate all users to the True Move H network. TeleGeography notes that at end-2011 True Corp reported total subscribers at its mobile operations of 18.9 million, broken down as: 18.16 million on the 2G (and trial 3G) network of True Move; 494,000 customers on the True Move H commercial 3G 850MHz network (full launch 30 August 2011, following a soft launch in July); and 289,000 legacy CDMA-based mobile users at Hutch Thailand.