Thailand’s largest mobile operator, AIS, plans to cut network capex by 40 per cent in 2018 after spending THB40 billion ($1.2 billion) annually over the last three years to expand its mobile infrastructure, Bangkok Post reported.
With coverage of its 3G and 4G networks each reaching 98 per cent of the population, the operator plans to reduce capex to THB24 billion, CEO Somchai Lertsutiwong told the newspaper. He said its 2018 network investment would focus on boosting capacity in specific areas with the highest data consumption, but noted the budget is flexible depending on real demand.
AIS, with a 43.4 per cent market share, added about 300,000 mobile subscribers in the year to end-September, when GSMA Intelligence (GSMAi) data showed it held 40.2 million connections. Around 35 per cent of its mobile user base (nearly 14 million customers) were on 4G plans at end Q3 2017, up from 23 per cent in Q3 2016.
GSMAi data showed second ranked True Move had 5.7 million 4G subscribers at end Q3 2017, accounting for just under 22 per cent of total mobile subs, while number three dtac had 7.2 million LTE subs (31 per cent).
AIS added about 33,000 4G base stations since Q3 2016, taking its total to more than 54,000 at end-September. It also installed an additional 10,000 3G base stations for a total of 48,000.