AIS, Thailand’s largest telco, has launched two trial LTE networks with speeds promised of up to 100 Mbps.
The first network is a 2.3-GHz TD-LTE network in central Bangkok with 20 base stations and the first test phase will run until May this year.
The second is an FD-LTE 1800-MHz network in the remote province of Maha Sarakham in the Northeast of the country. This network uses GSM 1800 spectrum owned by state telco CAT Telecom under concession to DPC, a telco now fully owned by AIS but forgotten in recent years as AIS has concentrated on its 900 MHz network. This network has eight base stations and the test phase will run until March this year.
The 2.3 GHz network was billed as a broadband wireless access initiative and the 1800-MHz network a 4G mobile phone network by the chairman of regulator NBTC, who alongside a host of dignitaries launched the network as part of the Smart Thailand initiative.
AIS CEO Wichian Mektrakarn said that there was much to learn about the rollout of LTE in terms of speed, reliability, mobile usage and handover for continuous coverage. He said that AIS will roll out 3G for wide area coverage and 4G in areas that need in-depth functionality such as universities, hospitals and research centres.
The network equipment is from Cisco, Huawei and Nokia-Siemens Networks.
The DPC concession itself ends in September 2013, and many view this move as getting a foot in the door to maintain rights to the valuable 1800-MHz spectrum once the concession does end.