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Dtac all set to launch 5G service in selected locations

Feb 18. 2020
Sharad Mehrotra
Sharad Mehrotra
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By Sirivish Toomgum
THE NATION

Total Access Communication (dtac) is expected to kick off its 5G wireless broadband service on the newly acquired 26GHz band in selected locations by the first half of this year, its chief executive officer Sharad Mehrotra said today (February 18).

Deployment of the 5G network on its 700MHz band is planned for the second half of 2020, he said.

Dtac chief technology officer Prathet Tankuranun said the firm did not acquire the 26GHz band just for keeps but will definitely use it to provide better service experience to customers.

The planned 5G services on 26GHz include the fixed-wireless broadband access service for end-users.

In the multiband auction held last Sunday (February 16), dtac TriNet, a subsidiary of dtac, acquired 200 MHz of 26GHz by proposing Bt910 million.

Mehrotra said the addition of the 26GHz high-band spectrum to dtac’s portfolio, which already includes mid and low bands, will allow it to provide high-quality data experience that will be critical to future networks. 

DTAC has held the 900MHz, 700MHz, 2100MHz, 1800MHz bands, and just clinched 26GHz from last week’s auction. It has partnered with TOT to provide a 4G wireless broadband service on the state agency’s 2300MHz band.

“With the acquisition of 26GHz spectrum and the continued development of our mid-band holdings, we are determined to bring new technologies and a better data experience for the many, not for the few,” Mehrotra said.

“Dtac’s strong performance in 2019 gives us confidence to continue our efforts to improve customers’ experience through a better network and more personalised offers. We will be stepping up our digitisation efforts to simplify customer journeys and transform our organisation to respond more quickly and effectively to customers’ needs. Dtac will never stop improving our services and readying our organisation for the future,” Mehrotra promised.

In addition to introducing 5G technology, dtac will significantly boost its existing network to give all customers improved coverage and up to three times higher data capacity.

The company will also increase the number of the 2300MHz cell sites to more than 20,000 by the year-end, up from around 17,400 at end of 2019.

Dtac has also upgraded its workforce skills to enhance its business operations. In 2019, the company upskilled 25 per cent of employees working in critical areas such as cybersecurity, data analytics and business intelligence. In partnership with expert programs from Telenor Group, dtac aims to double that figure to 50 per cent in 2020. 

The firm has set capital expenditure between Bt13 billion and Bt15 billion this year.

Five bidders took part in the much-awaited multiband auction on February 16. They are Advanced Wireless Network (AWN) of Advanced Info Service (AIS), dtac TriNet, TrueMove H Universal Communication (TUC) of True Corp, CAT Telecom, and TOT.

AWN secured the most licences. It offered more than Bt17.154 billion to win one 700MHz licence, more than Bt19.56 billion to win 10 licences in the 2600MHz spectrum and Bt5.345 billion to win 12 26GHz licences. 

CAT proposed Bt34.306 billion to clinch two 700MHz licences.

TUC offered Bt17.873 billion to win nine licences of 2600MHz and Bt3.577 billion to bag eight licences of 26GHz. TOT offered Bt1.795 billion to grab four licences of 26GHz.

AIS and True will hold a press conference to announce their 5G business plans on Wednesday (February 19) and Thursday (February 20), respectively.

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