Posts filed under ‘AIS’
Southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications group, Singapore Telecom (SingTel), today reported that its aggregate regional mobile subscriber base stood at 232 million as at 31 December 2008, up 7.3% on a quarterly basis, and a 35% increase year-on-year. Despite stiff competition and the deepening global economic gloom, SingTel reported that each of its six mobile associates in the region – Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (AIS), India’s Bharti Airtel, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Indonesia’s Telkomsel, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom (PBTL) and Pakistan’s Warid Telecom – posted double-digit subscriber growth ranging from 13% to 55% when compared to the same time at end-2007. Of these, India’s Bharti posted the single biggest jump in subscriber numbers to 85.65 million, up from 55.16 million as at 31 December 2007, SingTel said. The group’s wholly owned Ozzie unit Optus posted a 0.9% rise in mobile users over the year to 7.63 million, while in its home market SingTel had 2.94 million cellular customers, up 26% y-o-y. The Singaporean business also reported sustained demand for the Apple iPhone 3G device which helped push its domestic 3G mobile base up to 1.14 million, and 2.33 million for Optus in Australia.
The board of Thailand’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has decided that it will award 3G mobile licences via an auction, scheduled for the third quarter of this year, reports The Nation. NTC secretary-general Suranan Wongvithayakamjorn said that a public auction is the most transparent method of frequency allocation, and one that has been adopted by many countries. The regulator must now conclude the auction terms and conditions, including minimum bid price, number of concessions, fee payment method and licence validity period, within the next two or three weeks, he said. Licensing terms of reference must be put to a public hearing. A pre-bidding conference will also be held to allow telecoms operators to learn more about the process. Suranan said the duration of the 3G permits should be at least ten years, and applicants should be Thai nationals. An NTC source recently said that four 2100MHz UMTS licences will be awarded, three with 10MHz of bandwidth and one 15MHz block. Some telecom operators have opposed using the auction method, because of the possibility of being outbid by cash-rich international firms. State-owned Thai Mobile is the only holder of 2100MHz spectrum in the country, but has failed to roll out services. Cellular market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) launched a small scale commercial UMTS network in the 900MHz band in May 2008 and expanded the service to Bangkok in December. Second placed operator DTAC has proposed a limited launch of UMTS services using 850MHz frequencies, whilst third-ranked True Move plans to launch its first commercial 3G services in Bangkok this April, using 800MHz spectrum.
Apple is talking to every operators in Thailand about iPhone 3G, but seems True Move will be the first to seal the deal. True Move, the country’s third largest, said in its statement, “True Move has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone 3G to Thailand in the coming months.”
Yet, no official date is revealed. Currently, Thailand has not ready yet for 3G network, as it is being tested. Thai users may use available EDGE or GPRS for data connection. True Move has 13 million subscribers, while country’s largest, AIS, has 26.8 million subscibers.
If this condition is true, Thailand will be third country in the region, after Singapore and Philippines, that officially sell the Apple phone. Previously, Singapore and Philippines were joining other countries to sell iPhone 3G starting August 22.
FYI, there are tons of pirated iPhones available in Bangkok’s MBK centre. The US-original phone is offered around 29,500 bath (US$ 842), while Hongkong-original phone–offers easier way to insert the SIM card–is sold for 35,000 baht.
So, when will Malaysia and Indonesia join the legion to sell iPhone 3G?