Thai mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) has rejected a 2G 900MHz roaming proposal from rival True Corp, saying that the proposed THB450 million (USD12.7 million) per month charge was too steep. The Bangkok Post reports that AIS has proposed to pay a lower monthly fee to use only 5MHz of 900MHz bandwidth to serve its remaining 2G users for a three-month period, instead of the 20MHz block proposed by True under a scheme backed by the National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). Furthermore, AIS argued that it could use 5MHz of the 900MHz block recently won by cellular start-up Jas Mobile instead of striking a roaming deal with True. AIS stated its position by explaining that, of its roughly eight million remaining 2G-only users, 7.6 million were already able to access 2G roaming services on the 1800MHz network of its other main rival DTAC, leaving only about 400,000 2G customers dependent on receiving 900MHz services. A roaming deal is urgent because AIS must cease using the 900MHz frequencies once True pays for its recently-won 900MHz licence later this month. Up until now AIS has utilised the 900MHz spectrum under permission to extend 2G service continuity beyond its 2G concession expiry (last September), whilst it failed to win a 900MHz technology-neutral licence in December’s auction. True is certain to stump up the fees for its 900MHz licence this month, but Jas Mobile has so far failed to secure funding guarantees, leading to speculation that its spectrum will be returned for re-auction.
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