Published on March 22, 2008
TOT, which owns the AIS concession, already has permission from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for AIS to import the third-generation equipment needed for the service.
However, the service is expected to be limited to some potential areas, said Wichian, who declined to specify the exact locations or investment cost.
If launched, AIS still has to share the revenue from the 3G service with TOT, given that the service will be launched on its existing concession owned by the state agency.
A telecom industry source said AIS planned to spend Bt7 billion over the next three years on rolling out such a service on its 900MHz band.
"It's not big money. AIS will not spend too much on developing the 3G service, given that it still has to share 3G revenue with TOT. More than that, I don't think there will be a high demand for 3G at this stage," he added.
CAT Telecom will also ask for NTC permission to allow Total Access Communication (DTAC) to import equipment to develop the 3G service on DTAC's 850MHz band.
Sigve Brekke, chief executive of DTAC, said the company had the advantage over AIS in that it has already tested the 3G service on its 850MHz band with CAT, but he declined to say when DTAC would launch the service.
He added that DTAC planned to spend Bt5 billion on developing the 3G service nationwide on the 850MHz band.
True Move chief executive Supachai Chearavanont said his company had enough cash flow to spend on rolling out the service.
CAT, which owns True Move's concession, has promised the firm that it would allocate parts of the existing 850MHz band from Hutchison-CAT to True Move to provide the 3G service. Hutchison-CAT is the joint venture of CAT and Hong Kong's telecom giant Hutchison Telecom.
All telecom operators have disclosed their plans to launch 3G services on their existing spectrums after receiving Information and Communications Technology Minister Mun Patanotai's approval to do so yesterday.
Mun called the state telecom agencies and private telecom operators in to ask them to go ahead and launch the 3G services.
He also asked the state concession owners and private telecom concessionaires to seek resolutions to their existing legal dispute.