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AIS to double 3G network capacity

* Advanced Info Service Plc, the country’s biggest mobile operator, has underlined its mission to maintain its leadership in wireless services, with plans to double its 3G network capacity to 3,500 sites next year.

Chief executive officer Wichian Mektrakarn said the company plans to double its 3G network capacity to accommodate up to 6 million customers by adding 1,600 sites to bring the total to 3,500 by April 2012.

While Mr Wichian did not reveal the investment cost, he said AIS had spent up to 10 billion baht on network ex pansion this year. Of the total, 2.5 billion is for 3G network upgrades with the remainder for Edge and WiFi network expansion.

The speeds of AIS’s 3G services _ running on HSPA, Edge plus and WiFi systems _ vary depending on locations and tariff packages. The 3G HSPA network offers download speeds of up to 21 megabits per second, while the Edge plus network will have download capability of 296 kilobits per second.

AIS believes the number of its mobile data users will top 10.5 million this year, and hopes to enlist 1 million 3G users by the end of this year, up from 890,000 currently.

The company yesterday launched its new commercial logo, with a special event as it moves toward the 22nd year of operations.

While the old logo reflects the voice service period for which it helped define the standards, the new logo incorporates ”smile” and ”green” motifs that represent friendship, creativity, growth.

”More importantly, we want to move away from the things in which we had been involved in an unpleasant way in the past, especially politics,” said Mr Wichian.

According to the AIS chief, 69 million Thais are now making 180 million calls and over 250 million internet connections from their mobile phones per day.

The telecommunications industry contributes 2% to the gross domestic product and is estimated to create 300,000 jobs.

AIS shares (ADVANC) closed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 126 baht yesterday, up 4 baht, in trade worth 1.29 billion baht.

Source: Bangkok Post

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