Operators in Thailand backtracked on a plan to decommission their 2G networks, telling the nation’s regulator they would continue to deliver services to avoid potential problems for customers, Bangkok Post reported.
AIS, True Move and dtac had petitioned the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) in 2018 to allow them to terminate the networks to use the spectrum for other services. A mandate to do so was issued in January with the shutdown scheduled for October.
But the trio had a change of heart, prompting the NBTC to scrap the move.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith told Bangkok Post the operators are likely to revisit the plan in a few years, noting they would have to prepare to migrate customers to their 3G and 4G networks.
GSMA Intelligence figures showed AIS had 864,000 2G subscribers at end-September (2 per cent of its total base), True Move 510,000 and dtac 325,000.
Pisut Ngamvijitwong, a senior analyst of Kasikorn Securities, told the newspaper he was surprised by the reversal, noting 2G services generate only about THB100 ($3.29) per subscriber per month.
AIS runs 2G service on the 900MHz band, while True Move and dtac use the 1800MHz band.
The urgency for refarming those bands diminished since all three operators acquired 2x10MHz blocks in the 700MHz band in June.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back