True Move to launch 3G in April (Thailand)
Reuters reports that True Move, Thailand’s third largest mobile phone operator by users, plans to launch commercial 3G services in Bangkok this April. The GSM operator is partnering with state-run CAT Telecom to offer a trial W-CDMA/HSPA service, its CEO Supachai Chearavanont told reporters. True currently offers its mobile services via a build-transfer-operate (BTO) contract with CAT, which has allocated it additional 800MHz band frequencies to launch the trial. ‘We don’t know exactly when the new 2.1 [GHz] licence will be issued. We have to [launch using the 800MHz band] now so that customers will be able to use 3G,’ Supachai explained. True Move plans to import equipment to upgrade CAT’s network infrastructure at 600 base stations at a cost of about THB1 billion (USD29 million), the CEO said. It will begin offering trial customers the Apple 3G iPhone from Friday, and claims more than 10,000 handsets have been reserved online. True Move’s BTO contract with CAT will expire in 2013, but CAT has agreed to a five-year extension, according to Supachai.