Thailand’s TOT will launch upgraded 3G services in 17 provinces by November, with nationwide deployment scheduled for next year.
The state telecom enterprise will launch the network on the 1.9Ghz band.
The network will be built under a 15.99 billion baht ($526.5 million) contract awarded to the SL Consortium, a partnership between Thai conglomerate Loxley and Samart Telecoms, with equipment from Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks.
TOT president Arnon Tubtiang told the Bangkok Post that the new network is expected to offer speeds up to six times faster than TOT’s existing 3G network.
The launch of 3G networks in Thailand has been delayed for years due to political infighting, lawsuits and the legitimacy of regulators.
Telenor owned DTAC is currently embroiled in a legal tussle with concession owner CAT over an apparent breach of the country’s joint-venture act over the latter’s agreement to collaborate on 3G services with operator True.
The upcoming network will be the second 3G network launched by TOT, who in December 2009 had announced 3G services using 500 base stations, as part of a pilot project.
The new network will involve 1,722 base stations installed in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, with another 1,686 installed in 13 provinces including Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
A further 1,314 base stations will be installed in Thailand’s 59 provinces by the end of next year.