Thailand’s largest operator Advanced Info Service (AIS) plans to invest up to THB60 billion ($1.83 billion) to develop 4G and fixed broadband services, according to Bangkok Post.
The company looks to be taking on rival operator True, which is the dominant player in terms of 4G services in Thailand.
Somchai Lertsutiwong, AIS chief executive, said that around THB15-20 billon has been set aside for the delayed 4G licence auction planned for next year, which will include 900MHz and 1.8GHz frequencies.
Another THB40 billion has been earmarked to build a 4G network, as well as fixed broadband infrastructure, according to Lertsutiwong.
AIS had a total of 43.8 million connections at the end of the third quarter of 2014, according to GSMA Intelligence figures, with the majority of those (39.2 million), being 3G.
Second-placed DTAC, which is owned by Telenor, had 28.1 million connections, while True has 23.3 million connections. Fourth-placed TOT had just under 700,000 connections.
However, True led the way in terms of 4G, with around 850,000 connections at the end of the same period. DTAC, the only other operator offering 4G services, was on slightly less than 180,000 connections.
AIS is believed to be in talks with another operator, TOT, regarding a partnership to provide 4G services on a roaming or an MVNO basis.
AIS parent InTouch is trying to move beyond being a pure telecoms provider by expanding its so-called digital life segment.
However, executive chairman of InTouch Somprasong Boonyachai told Bangkok Post that AIS will remain the primary source of revenue for the group, “as a mobile is no longer a luxury item”.