Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (AIS) seeks to expand its broadband and wireless networks this year in a huge 40 billion baht investment.
The lion’s share of the investment, about 30 billion baht, will help expand it’s 3G mobile network to 29,000 locations, from around 20,000 currently, and the rest of the money will be invested in wireless networks and fixed line broadband. The company has invested around 80 billion baht on its 3G network in recent years.
AIS: generous and wise…?
“We are chang [which means elephant in Thai], which is generous and wise, and now we would like to add an ‘e’ to make it ‘change’ to be ready to serve the future needs of Thai people” said the chairman Vithit Leenutaphong at the company’s AIS Vision 2015 event held yesterday.
The CEO, Somchai Lertsuttiwong, said that the Bt40 billion was separate to the money AIS would need to bid in the 4G spectrum licence auction of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, which is expected to be held this year.
In Thailand, the mobile and telecommunications industry is set to grow by around 3% this year to 233 billion baht. Smartphones and other devices are expected to grow 10% to 127 billion baht, and broadband by 15% to be valued at around 62 billion baht.
Like many mobile operators around the world, the revenue they get from voice services is falling – AIS said the industry’s voice service revenue would fall by 5% but data will increase by 200%.
With the new and improved broadband service, AIS wants to reach more than 10 million homes in 5 years, making use of their fibre optic network which already totals 120,000 km across the nation. As of today, there are around 5 million broadband Internet users in Thailand.
In the first few months of this year, AIS intends to launch several new services. The first of this is called the AIS Play Box, which is a TV/Internet set-top box which plugs into a TV allowing users to watch TV and access data services, such as movies on demand and more. We will provide more details as we learn more.
It remains to be seen whether the other mobile and broadband operators will announce new investments for the remainder of the year, but with 4G on the horizon in the not-too-distant-future, Thailand is all set to grow in both mobile data usage and fixed-line broadband penetration.
SOURCE: The Nation