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Thai state-run TOT to invest $865 mln on 3G


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Thai state-run TOT to invest $865 mln on 3G
Thailand’s cabinet on Tuesday gave a green light for state-owned telephone firm TOT to invest up to 29 billion baht ($865 million) on developing third-generation mobile services, said Reuters.

Reuters said deputy government spokeswoman Suparat Nakboonnam told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting that TOT would develop 3G services on its 1900 MHz spectrum, with the first phase of commercial operations starting by 2009,.

TOT would seek 2.4 billion in loan financing and another 26.6 billion baht would be funded by government-to-government lending, she was quoted as saying.

The state company planned to upgrade its existing 500 base stations with 3G technology next year and install 5,220 new stations during 2009-2012, and expected to have at least 4 million 3G users within five years of launch, Suparat said.

Thailand Hote
Thai telecoms operators are competing to deploy new technologies, including 3G, to extract new revenues from a nearly saturated sector.

The top three private mobile phone operators are preparing to launch 3G services on their existing networks, but progress has been slow pending approval from the National Telecommunication Commission regulator to import equipment.

The three operators, Advanced Info Service, Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move, a subsidiary of True Corp, have a combined market share of more than 90 percent of the Thai mobile market.

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