400,000 AIS customers face being cut off on Tuesday

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More than 400,000 AIS customers could be cut off from using its services on Tuesday after regulators ruled the company needs to close its 2G cellular service.

AIS, Thailand’s largest mobile operator, has been forced to migrate almost 13 million 2G subscribers after it lost out to rival True Corp in December’s spectrum auction.

Since December, the company has managed to convince almost 5 million subscribers to switch to its 3G and 4G services, while AIS has agreed a deal that will enable 7.6 million of its 2G customers to use DTAC’s 2G network.

However, AIS announced yesterday that 400,000 subscribers have still not been migrated and could face being cut from midnight on Tuesday.

Late on Monday, AIS executives sought to obtain an injunction from the Central Administrative Court in order to allow the 400,000 subscribers to continue using the 2G cellular service.

The court has asked the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission its position during a hearing on Tuesday.

According to Reuters, Takorn Tantasith, secretary general at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, said: ”We think AIS should be able to migrate its subscribers in time before the shutdown at midnight on March 15.”

Takorn added that AIS can not automatically migrate customers to its 3G or 4G services, without getting their permission first.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, AIS chief executive officer Somchai Lertsutiwong said the company had previously tried to offer free 3G handsets in a bid to persuade customers to migrate from its 2G services. He also is reported to have said that discontinuation of the company’s 2G service will have only a small impact on revenue.

However, whilst this may be the case, any disruption to the 2G would likely result in bad publicity for the company and could also mean that some users would switch over to the 2G service offered by competitor True.

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