By USANEE MONGKOLPORN
Somchai Lertsutiwong, AIS’s chief executive officer, said that while there were around 300,000 AIS subscribers to second-generation cellular service on the 900-megahertz network who would be disconnected, they were all inactive users.
Meanwhile, the roughly 6 million AWN subscribers using 2G phones will be able to continue using the 2G service, he stressed.
AIS is in talks with TOT to seek ways to enable these subscribers to continue using the 2G-900MHz network, he said, adding that the discussions are expected to be wrapped up before the end of tomorrow.
AIS had been using the 900MHz spectrum under a TOT concession, which expired last September.
AWN won a 900MHz licence in an auction held late last year. Once the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission awards the 900MHz licence to AWN, AIS is obligated to shut down its 2G service under the concession and transfer the 2G network to TOT under the build-transfer-operate system.
At the end of the first quarter, AIS group reported that it had 38.9 million subscriptions, of which 6 million were using 2G service, with the remainder on the 3G and 4G networks of AWN.
Somchai said yesterday that AIS would announce its new projections for revenue growth and dividend policy in August, while its investment budget for this year remained unchanged at Bt40 billion.
AWN yesterday paid the first instalment of its 900MHz licence upfront fee to the NBTC, transferring Bt8.602 billion – including value-added tax – via a Bangkok Bank cashier’s cheque, and placed 12 bank-guarantee notes worth Bt72.346 billion, including VAT, from Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, Thanachart Bank and CIMB Thai Bank, for the remaining instalments.
The NBTC’s 15-year licence to AWN will be good from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2030.
Somchai said the 900MHz spectrum would boost AIS’s network capacity to 50 million users, which would help the group to further increase its services and quality.
AWN plans to split its 10MHz of the 900MHz band into two parts, one for 2G service and the other for either 3G or 4G, he added.
AWN currently offers service on the 2.1-gigahertz and 1,800MHz bands.