Wednesday 18 March 2020

Thai Operators AIS and True have launched 5G

Earlier we wrote about Thailand's spectrum auctions here. Now two operators, AIS and True have already launched 5G on 2.6 GHz band. This is the TD 2600+ band (n41) as opposed to Band n7.

Picture Source: Ping Chp on Twitter

Mobile World Live reported yesterday that True has switched on their 5G network:

Thai operator True Move launched 5G services after paying the first instalment on newly acquired spectrum, making it the second operator in the country to introduce the next-generation technology.

In a stock market filing yesterday (16 March), the operator said it received a 2.6GHz spectrum licence from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission after making the required 10 per cent payment of the purchase price and putting down a bank guarantee for the remaining amount with the regulator.

True Move, the second-largest operator in the country by subscribers, acquired 90MHz of 2.6GHz spectrum and 800MHz in the 26GHz band for THB21.45 billion ($668 million) in an auction last month.

After running 5G trials in 2019, the operator deployed 400 5G base stations using the 2.6GHz band. Subscribers on unlimited data plans will be offered free service upgrades.

Market leader AIS started 5G service using the 2.6GHz band after making its first spectrum payment on 21 February.

Mobile world live had earlier reported that:

The company posted net profit of THB210 million ($6.7 million), rebounding from a loss of THB2.14 billion in Q4 2018. Group revenue grew 11 per cent year-on-year to THB37.7 billion.

Mobile service revenue increased 11.3 per cent to THB19.9 billion, mainly due to double-digit growth in the post-paid segment and the continued success of a device-bundling campaign, the operator said in an earnings statement.

Product sales grew 38.6 per cent to THB6.99 billion.

Mobile unit True Move added 1.4 million subs in 2019, taking its total to 30.6 million at end-December, of which 8.3 million were post-paid and 22.3 million prepaid. Post-paid APRU edged up to THB468 from THB463 in 4Q 2018.

With regards to AIS, Mobile World Live reported:

AIS set aside a preliminary budget of THB10 billion ($318.8 million) to THB15 billion for its 5G rollout over the next 12 months, pitching the investment as a likely boon for 4G customers too.

AIS spent THB42.1 billion on a 5MHz block in the 700MHz band, 100MHz of 2600MHz and 1200MHz in the 26GHz band in the country’s 5G auction on 16 February, winning licences with 15-year terms.

In a stock market filing, the operator said it will initially use the 700MHz and 2600MHz bands because this will enable it to expand the capacity and coverage of its LTE network given those licences cover 4G and 5G.

For its 5G services in the 2600MHz band, it is targeting at least 50 per population coverage of key cities including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket within four years. It did not disclose targets for the 700MHz and 26GHz bands.

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