ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai firm ready to start 3G
The country's third-largest mobile operator earlier upgraded 600 base stations to HSPA (high-speed packet access) technology on its analogue 850-MHz spectrum to offer the wireless broadband trials.
CAT Telecom, which holds the company's concession, recently approved a request to upgrade an additional 1,400 cell sites.
However, True Move now plans to focus heavily on the True Move H brand that it created after acquiring the small Hutch mobile business, said CAT president Jirayuth Roongsrithong. CAT remains the owner of Hutch's CDMA frequency. It plans to change all of the CDMA-based sites to the HSPA platform within two years.
True Corporation, through subsidiaries Real Move and Real Future, signed wholesale-reseller contracts with CAT Telecom on January 27, after it acquired the Hutch business from Hutchison of Hong Kong.
The contracts effectively extend True Move's life by 14 years past the 2013 expiry of its present mobile concession. They also appear to give the company an edge in the 3G field over its bigger rivals pending the formation of a new industry regulator.
Suphachai Chearavanont, the chief executive of True Move, said True Move H would provide 3G services through Real Move.
True Move will focus on providing 2G services until its concession expires in 2013. It will then shift all its customers to Real Move, since it has a 14-year pact with CAT.
Real Move will install 2,000 HSPA base stations this year, with the total rising to 3,500 next year and 4,500 in 2013, covering 75 percent of the population and capable of serving 4 million customers.
Hutch and CAT CDMA customers who want to switch to True Move H can retain their old mobile numbers, but they will need to buy new handsets.
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