Mun said the network would be leased to telecom-operators because TOT wanted to be the network-provider.
A TOT source said that in the first phase TOT would upgrade 500 existing base stations of its joint-venture cellular operator Thai Mobile in Bangkok and major provinces to 3G technology to enable launch early next year. Thai Mobile currently provides conventional cellular services in the 1900MHz spectrum.
In the second phase TOT will install 5,220 new 3G base stations across the country.
TOT targets at least four million 3G subscribers on the network within five years of the service launching.
Many private cellular operators, including Advanced Info Service, are interested in joining with TOT to develop the 3G service.
Mun said the project had to be approved this year or Thailand would be left behind by its neighbours in 3G technology development.