Thailand’s largest cellco by subscribers Advanced Info Service (AIS) is working on increasing its 3G 2100MHz base transceiver stations (BTS) to a total of 29,000 this year, The Nation reports. According to its Q1 2015 report, AIS had 22,800 3G BTS including small cells by the end of March (up from 21,300 three months earlier). It also reported 35,000 Wi-Fi hotspots at that date, including 2,000 ‘Super Wi-Fi’ access points – enabling data transfer at up to 650Mbps – in areas of high demand. AIS plans to increase the total Wi-Fi points to 48,000 by the end of December.
AIS has maintained a previously announced investment budget of THB40 billion (USD1.2 billion) this year, mainly to boost its 3G services and fibre network, with THB7.2 billion spent in the year to date. Service revenue is expected to grow 3%-4% this year, boosted by data services which will offset voice revenue decline.
AIS also plans to rent capacity from its build-transfer-operate (BTO) concession owner TOT to serve its remaining 2G customers after the expiry of its BTO 900MHz concession in September this year, the Bangkok Post reports. At the end of March 2015 AIS reported that over 3.1 million, or 7.4% of its user base, were subscribers to its 2G 900MHz network. ‘We are in negotiations with the state telecom enterprise for a possible agreement over the rental network capacity,’ said Nattiya Poapongsakorn, AIS’s vice-president for investor relations. Ms Nattiya also said the company was ready to take part in the technology-neutral spectrum auctions for 1800MHz and 900MHz frequencies, in November and December respectively, saying: ‘We plan to use the 1800MHz spectrum to provide 4G wireless broadband service, while the 900MHz spectrum will accommodate existing 2G customers.’