AIS and True Move both announced aggressive plans to roll out nationwide LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service on their newly-acquired 4G spectrum this year.
Market leader AIS, which yesterday claimed to launch LTE-A in 42 provinces, said it is investing THB34 billion ($936 million) to take the service nationwide (72 provinces) by March, the Bangkok Post reported. The operator said it has already spent THB14 billion over the last two months rolling out 7,000 4G base stations and will double that number over the next two months.
Rival True, the country’s third largest operator, plans to invest THB56 billion ($1.54 billion) this year to deliver LTE-A service to 97 per cent of the population, the Post said. Its aims to build 13,500 base stations on the 1.8GHz band and up to 4,000 base stations on the 900MHz frequency.
True, which has a 22 per cent market share, acquired both 1.8GHz and 900MHz spectrum in auctions late last year, while AIS was only able to obtain spectrum in the 1.8GHz band. Its LTE-A launch is its first move into 4G. True and number two dtac launched 4G on a small scale in 2014.
True said it aims to almost double its 4G user base to four million this year. It had 2.3 million 4G connections, representing almost 13 per cent of total subscribers, at the end of last year, while Dtac had 2.1 million, according to GSMA Intelligence.
In addition to its 4G investment, AIS has earmarked an additional THB20 billion to expand its 3G network on the 2.1GHz band and take its 3G base station count to 27,000. AIS has 38 million mobile connections, giving it a 46 per cent market share.