In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:
MIIT targets 350M 4G subs by 2018
Wen Ku, director of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information’s Communication Development Department, said at a recent industry forum he expects the country’s 4G subscribers to hit at least 350 million by 2018. But the number could be as high as 460 million.
Speaking at the New Generation of Broadband Wireless Mobile Forum, Wen said China will have 60-70 million 4G connections by the end of this year. At the end of Q3, the three major operators had a total of 45 million 4G connections, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Ericsson wins 5-year LTE deal from Dtac
Dtac, Thailand’s second largest operator, has named Ericsson as the supplier of its LTE expansion programme on the 2.1GHz band that will cover several major cities across the country. The five-year deal includes network rollout, integration, optimisation as well as support services.
Camilla Vautier, head of Ericsson Thailand, said it will help dtac address all of the challenges associated with deploying 3G/4G networks, assuming responsibility for everything from planning to tuning to maintenance.
Fortumo opens Singapore office
Fortumo, a provider of carrier billing services, has opened an office in Singapore to spearhead its growth in the Southeast Asia region.
The office will be lead by Siddharth Sahi, who has more than 10 years of experience in the telecom industry at Airtel, Idea and Bubbly. He will focus on expanding its merchants’ business and building out relationships with local carriers.
Fortumo said its direct carrier billing platform is available to 2.1 billion users at 46 mobile operators in 12 countries in Asia. It has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi and Mumbai. Its headquarters is in Estonia and its American activities are headed from the San Francisco office.
The company is partnering with Telenor Pakistan and Turkcell for direct carrier billing and it is launching a physical goods store using carrier billing in Singapore with Rovio and SingTel.
AIS plans $122M next-gen network upgrade
Thailand’s largest mobile operator AIS has announced plans to spend THB4 billion ($122.7 million) to upgrade its fixed broadband infrastructure over the next three years.
The plan, which kicks off in March with a THB1 billion investment, is part of a larger digital transformation programme that aims to position it as a “digital life service provider”. The programme also involves an organisational and management restructuring to improve efficiency.
An AIS representative said mobile operators must transform themselves into internet-based service firms, the Bangkok Post reported. “We’re in the middle of a fundamental transformation towards digitisation. The whole process is scheduled to be complete by 2017.”