Thai incumbent mobile operator AIS has brought forward the date for its planned 3G launch on the 2,100-MHz band to April.
AIS CEO Wichian Mektrakarn told the Post the company felt the need to accelerate its 3G rollout in the face of soaring demand for mobile data, and that it aims to deploy 20,000 base stations on the 2.1-GHz band.
AIS will use a dual-mode configuration for 3G, and already has numerous 3G base stations running on the 900-MHz band. The operator aims to achieve 80% population coverage with its 3G network by the end of the year.
While AIS has long enjoyed a lead by total mobile subscribers, rival TrueMove has had a head start in 3G thanks to its controversial network deal with state-owned CAT Telecom.
The 2G concessions of both TrueMove and AIS subsidiary Digital Phone Co are meanwhile due to expire in September, and the fate of TrueMove's 2G subscribers is in limbo due to a disagreement between state-owned concession holder CAT and the government over the future of the spectrum.