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True Move earmarks $125M for 4G expansion in Thailand

Posted: 30 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:True Move? 4G? Thailand? base station?

Thailand's third-largest mobile operator, True Move, is set to edge out its bigger rivals with speedier networks as it mobilises $124.68 million to kick-off the upcountry phase of its nationwide 4G rollout scheduled in February 2015, Bangkok Post reported.

The fund will cover the cost of setting up 7,000 additional 4G base stations on the 2,100MHz spectrum. Once completed, the expansion will raise the total number of stations to 9,00020 times as many than the current installations by the second-ranked DTAC.

True Move is also pushing for a 4G roaming partnership with the world's biggest mobile communications company China Mobile International (CMI) by the end of the year. This will enable CMI's 800 million subscribers, which comprise some 50 million 4G consumers, to send and receive calls when visiting Thailand.

True Corporation CEO Chearavanont Suphachai described the move as a game-changer, with the mobile operator paving the way for the country's official entry into the 4G era. He told Bangkok Post that they target to serve 60 per cent of the country's population, and lead the 4G mobile market race.

DTAC has some 400 4G base stations while the mobile forerunner AIS has yet to deploy faster networks since it holds much less frequency bandwidth.

True Move commercialised its 4G LTE services on the 2,100MHz spectrum last May. To date, the company has about 80,000 4G subscribers and up to 19 million 3G customers.

[See also: 4G for good? Asia embraces LTE technology]

To help build up the local 4G service, the company is looking to bring Chinese smartphone brands in the $62 to $94 price range by June 2015.

Research firm GfK identifies Thailand as one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in terms of volume turnover in the past 12 months, reporting 44 per cent spike in demand over the previous period. In value terms, Thailand drew in 52 per cent increase in sales versus the 32 per cent and 31 per cent of the other two countries. (Read full story: Smartphone mania in ASEAN drives strong sales)

Supachai believes that True Move is moving ahead towards a growth pace, and expects rosy financial results for the fourth quarter.





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