Telenor, the parent company of Thailand’s second largest operator dtac, is committed to the country in the long term, despite not winning 4G spectrum in the auction, and plans to invest THB20 billion ($556 million) in its network this year.
Sigve Brekke, CEO of Norway’s Telenor, which owns dtac, told the Bangkok Post that the winning bids in the 900MHz auction were “surprisingly high” but the operator has enough spectrum to support its growth for the next two to five years.
He admitted the operator will need to acquire more after 2020 to handle rising data traffic, which has more than doubled in the country over the past two years.
The Post quoted him as saying: “We’re confident of winning back the 1,800MHz spectrum, now used by dtac and due to expire in 2018, thanks to our strong financial health and lack of financial burdens.”
Brekke, who took charge of Telenor last May, was visiting Telenor’s operations in Asia.
He urged the Thai government to auction additional spectrum in the 700MHz, 850MHz, 1.8GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands to enable operators to keep up with surging demand for data.
Dtac has a 30 per cent market share and about 25 million mobile connections, according to GSMA Intelligence. At the end of last year it had 2.1 million 4G connections, representing less than 9 per cent of its user base.
Dtac chief executive Lars Norling said it soon plans to build out it 4G network on the 2.1GHz band.
Rivals AIS, True Move and mobile newcomer Jasmine International won spectrum in the 4G auctions held late last year. Market leader AIS won 1.8GHz airwaves and Jasmine emerged with 900MHz spectrum, while True paid $3.2 billion for 900MHz and 1.8GHz spectrum.