CAT Telecom’s 4G service scheduled for My brand launch next month

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


CAT TELECOM plans to launch 4G service as part of its My brand mobile phone operations next month, Viroj Tocharoenvanith, senior executive vice president for wireless business, said yesterday.

The new 4G service will mainly utilise the True Move H network of True Corp, after CAT and True reached a network-roaming deal recently.

Viroj said CAT was currently testing the roaming and technical aspects the 4G service, which would be officially launched next month.

“CAT will focus on a reasonable price package for specific users, with 4G bundled with 3G services, too. We are aiming to gain around 50,000 4G users by the end of this year,” he said.

The roaming 4G network with True – part of CAT’s recent agreement with True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) – would see TUC paying a rental fee of Bt9.3 billion to CAT for using the state agency’s 3G-850MHz network to provide wireless broadband service.

TUC had originally agreed to pay the rental fee to CAT in cash.

The original leasing agreement was for three years, 2013-2015, with TUC agreeing to lease around 17 per cent of the capacity of CAT’s 850MHz network.

However, the parties were unable to reach agreement on the payment details.

Under the recently concluded leasing deal, a fee of Bt9.3 billion has been agreed for the three-year period. TUC will pay Bt4.1 billion in cash within eight years and the remaining Bt5.2 billion will be paid to CAT in the form of 4G network capacity on its 1800MHz and 2.1GHz spectra for operations within 10 years.

According to TUC’s conditions under the agreement, the 4G network is exclusively for CAT’s My service.

CAT expects to gain 2 million users with at least Bt6 billion of revenue from 4G services, in net-present-value terms, through 2025, the executive said.

At the end of the first quarter, My had around 1.4 million users, of which 1.28 million were prepaid users.

CAT forecasts 2 million My users overall by the end of this year, generating revenue of Bt1.85 billion, against Bt1.18 billion last year.

The state agency has put Bt40 million into its new My price packages and the associated marketing campaign, charging only Bt199 per month for 1GB of data usage and Bt100 per month for 130 minutes of free calls to all networks.

AIS sees partnership deal with TOT soon

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ADVANCED Info Service is hopeful that it will be able to wrap up its partnership deal with TOT soon to provide third-generation cellular service jointly on the state agency’s 2.1-gigahertz band.

AIS chief executive officer Somchai Lertsutiwong said his company was also seeking a partnership on providing the service on TOT’s 2.3GHz band.

Currently AIS holds a total of 40 megahertz of bandwidth on the 2.1GHz, 1,800MHz and 900MHz spectra, while TOT has 15MHz on 2.1GHz and 60MHz on 2.3GHz.

TOT has selected AIS as its strategic partner on its 2.1GHz band but has still not signed the official contracts.

TOT president Monchai Noosong said recently that the agency would start to announce its partnership plans with private telecom operators and supplier of telecommunications-transmission equipment on its 2.3GHz spectrum this month.

Yesterday AIS subsidiary Advanced Wireless Network picked up the 15-year 900MHz licence it won at an auction held in May by the National Broadcasting and Telecom-munications Commission. Jas Mobile Broadband had won that band at a previous auction last December but failed to fulfil the initial payment conditions, so the NBTC had to hold another bid.

AWN tells 6m roaming users they’ll be unaffected by AIS 2G switch-off

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ADVANCED Wireless Network (AWN), a subsidiary of Advanced Info Service, yesterday reassured around 6 million of its subscribers who had been roaming with AIS’s 2G-900MHz network that they would not be affected by the switch-off of the AIS 2G service at midnight tomorrow.

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.

New AIS SIM card package targets teenage heavy data users

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ADVANCED INFO Service (AIS) has introduced the prepaid “Zeed SIM 4G YouTube” package to tap teenage heavy data users and has targeted 1.5 million new users with this new package this year.

The package allows users to enjoy watching videos on YouTube free and with no time limit up to a total of 24 gigabytes (2GB per month for 12 months), plus 6GB of free Internet (500 megabytes per month for 12 months), in addition to free AIS Wi-Fi for four months.

As well, customers can make phone calls on any network for only 25 satang per second (Bt1 for the first minute). Customers can use the service continuously as long as they top up their accounts by at least Bt100 per month.

Titipong Khiewpaisal, AIS senior vice president for marketing, said the company currently had around 33 million prepaid mobile-phone subscribers out of a total of more than 38 million subscribers. Seven million to 8 million of its prepaid users are teenagers. They consume 2.1GB of data per month per person on average.

The company has budgeted around Bt30 million for the marketing campaign for this new SIM card package until the end of this year.

Recently Total Access Communication introduced the “DTAC Super 4G” prepaid SIM card package, targeting the growing base of prepaid heavy data users. DTAC has targeted a million new prepaid subscribers this year through the new package.

The DTAC Super 4G SIM package enables users to enjoy entertainment content without any limit, and they can view YouTube for free from midnight to 8am. They can also access music streaming free of charge 24 hours a day through DTAC’s Music Infinite hub of music-streaming applications, and have up to 12GB of high-speed Internet.

DTAC announces prepaid package for heavy data users as base grows

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DTAC CEO Lars Norling, third left, and chief marketing officer Sitthichoke Nopchinabutr, fourth left, launch ‘DTAC Super 4G’, a new SIM card to tap the digital generation.

DTAC CEO Lars Norling, third left, and chief marketing officer Sitthichoke Nopchinabutr, fourth left, launch ‘DTAC Super 4G’, a new SIM card to tap the digital generation.

TOTAL Access Communication has introduced the “DTAC Super 4G” prepaid SIM card package, targeting the growing base of prepaid heavy data users.

According to DTAC chief executive officer Lars Norling, the company found that 68 per cent of its prepaid customers were now using smartphones and their daily data usage had grown by 46 per cent compared with last year. About 94 per cent access YouTube on their phones.

He said these figures showed that most DTAC prepaid users are the “digital generation”, who spend a lot of time online, which prompted the company to launch the new prepaid SIM package to serve them specifically.

DTAC has targeted a million new prepaid subscribers this year through the new package.

Chief marketing officer Sitthichoke Nopchinabutr said the DTAC Super 4G SIM package enabled users to enjoy entertainment content without any limit, and they can view YouTube for free from midnight to 8am.

They can also access music streaming free of charge 24 hours a day through DTAC’s Music Infinite hub of music-streaming applications, and have up to 12 gigabyte of high-speed Internet.

Currently DTAC has more than 25.5 million subscribers, of whom around 20 million are prepaid.

NBTC panel concludes JASMBB must pay Bt130m in fine, costs

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A NATIONAL Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission panel has concluded that a fine and costs, expected to total around Bt130 million, should be slapped on Jas Mobile Broadband (JASMBB) for failing to pay the first instalment of the upfront fee for a licence to the 900-megahertz spectrum by the deadline of March 21.

The panel will submit its conclusion to the NBTC telecom committee today.

The panel concluded that as a result of the company’s failure to pay the fee, the NBTC could seize the Bt644-million deposit JASMBB placed before the auction of 900MHZ licences last December.

The NBTC can also claim damages from JASMBB from its failure to pay the first instalment of the licence upfront fee and the cost of re-auctioning the 900MHz licence, which has since been forfeited by the subsidiary of Jasmine International (Jas).

The NBTC has already seized the Bt644 million deposit. It will re-auction the 900MHz licence this Friday.

For the damage claim, the working panel proposed a fine of Bt1.675 million a day, covering the period from March 22 until the telecom committee approves the outcome of the Friday auction, which is expected to be done on the same day.

The claim is calculated from interest of 7.5 per cent per day of the first instalment of Bt8.04 billion. If the telecom committee approves the winner of the re-auction on Friday as expected, this means the total fine is Bt112 million.

However, the telecom panel will finalise how many days JASMBB will be fined for.

The cost of the re-auction is about Bt18 million.

As part of its probe into JASMBB’s failure to pay the initial fee, the panel learned that Jas had tried to seek bank loans and a deal to rent telecom facilities from CAT Telecom but failed to reach a loan agreement with any bank.

The investigating panel also concluded that in relation to the JASMBB case, the NBTC could not punish other licence holders that are in the Jasmine International group, as they are separate entities from JASMBB.

AIS last man standing for 900MHz licence after True opts to pull out of race

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ADVANCED Info Service (AIS) is now left as the only applicant in the running to take part in the upcoming re-auctioning of a 900MHz licence.

Two operators – AIS and True Corp – had picked up the bid documents, but True sent a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Monday to inform the bourse of its board’s resolution that the company would not participate in the re-auction, given that it already has a very comprehensive spectrum portfolio with sufficiently large bandwidth totalling 55MHz.

However, it remains to be seen whether AIS will actually participate. As of press time, the company had yet to make an official announcement of its intentions.

Today is the day that licence applicants have to submit their bid documents and place a bank guarantee of Bt3.783 billion.

Under the re-auction rules, the National Broadcasting and Telecom-munications Commission (NBTC) will hold the auction even if there is only one qualified bidder.

The starting price is Bt75.6 billion, the same final price that the Jasmine International group quoted to win this particular licence band in December.

Last month, Total Access Com-|munication (DTAC) was the first telecom operator to announce that it would not join the re-auction.

True group and Jasmine group each landed a 900MHz licence at last December’s auction.

However, the latter’s Jas unit failed to make the initial payment of the upfront licence fee, thus losing the right to use the licence.

The regulator decided as a result to re-auction the licence on May 27.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said yesterday that in the event of only one bidder, once the bidding started, the bidder would first be required to confirm the starting price.

After that, if it declines to further raise the price, the bidding ends and it becomes the winner at such a price.

If AIS were to grab the 10MHz of 900MHz bandwidth available via this re-auction, its total spectrum bandwidth would be 55MHz, the same as True’s.

AIS currently holds 15MHz of the 2.1GHz spectrum and 15MHz of the 1800MHz spectrum – both granted by the NBTC.

It is also in the process of tying up several partnership deals with TOT to jointly offer 3G service on the state agency’s 15MHz bandwidth in the 2.1GHz spectrum.

True now has 15MHz of the 2.1GHz spectrum, 15MHz of the 1800MHz spectrum, and 10MHz of the 900MHz spectrum – all granted by the NBTC.

It also has partnered with CAT Telecom to offer 3G service on 15MHz of CAT’s 850MHz spectrum.

True chief finance officer Noppadol Dej-udom said yesterday that True’s decision not to join the fray was a win-win situation for all.

The decision not to take part was based on advice received from UK-based Analysis Mason, and a consensus vote from the board, he explained.

Declining to join the fray means True can concentrate on investing in its network and service rollout, he said, adding that the business has set aside a total of Bt47 billion this year for group investment.

Bt31billion will be for mobile business development, of which Bt8.04billion is for upfront payment of its 900MHz licence fee.

Bt13 billion will be allocated for online business development, and the remaining Bt2.5 billion for TrueVisions.

Noppadol said True’s decision not to join the bidding would promote competition.

He added that True chairman Dhanin Chearavanont had said during the board meeting that True welcomed genuine competition, and that it did not want anyone to blame it for blocking rivals from having a chance to land a 900MHz band.

The chief finance officer said that if True had decided to take part, the licence price could have risen to more than Bt80 billion during the bidding on May 27.

In his opinion, AIS will definitely submit its bid document today.

Despite the looming hotting up of competition should AIS win the 900MHz licence, Noppadol believes True will become the No-2 player in terms of revenue market share within three years.

As of the third quarter last year, AIS had 52 per cent of overall revenue and DTAC had 27.5 per cent, followed by True with 22 per cent.

True this year will gain around Bt60billion from new capital-raising, of which Bt50 billion will be for repaying part of the group’s debt of Bt90 billion, the CFO said.

In a separate matter, the NBTC telecom committee yesterday resolved that the holders of 1800MHz and 900MHz wireless-service licences should charge customers on an actual per-second billing basis in all promotional packages, in line with licensing conditions.

The watchdog will inform the licence-holders soon.

The NBTC office will also issue two announcements, one specifying that the average 2.1GHz voice service fee of licence-holders must not exceed 82 satang per minute, and that the cost of data service must not exceed 28 satang per megabyte.

The other announcement caps the service fee of 1800MHz and 900MHz licence-holders at lower than 69 satang per minute for voice, and below 26 satang per megabyte for data service.

CAT looks at letting My subscribers roam on True 4G network

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


CAT Telecom plans to provide a fourth-generation wireless broadband service to its My brand 3G-850MHz subscribers by having them roam with the 4G-1800MHz/2.1GHz networks of True Corp, according to Surapant Meknavin, CAT acting president.

He said the My brand service, which currently has only 1 million subscribers, is also seeking marketing partners to promote its brand.

CAT will resubmit the new My business plan to its board soon, after the board rejected approval for the plan this week.

According to a CAT source, CAT has to draw up its My business plan to serve its aim to have My subscribers roam with True’s 4G networks.

True and CAT have been partners in offering the 3G service on the state agency’s 850MHz spectrum.

True subsidiary Real Move has utilised 80 per cent of this 850MHz band to offer its own 3G service, while the other True subsidiary TrueMove H Universal Communication (TUC) has roamed its subscribers on 17 per cent of this spectrum capacity. CAT has used part of the rest of the spectrum capacity to offer the My service.

The same source said that TUC, which is in talks with CAT to pay this spectrum roaming fee to it, has told the state agency that CAT’s My subscribers can roam with True’s 4G 1800MHz/2.1GHz networks as one part of TUC’s roaming-fee payment deal with the agency.

Surapant said the MY service is forecast to have at least an additional 1.5 million to 2 million users within this year.

True Corp remains undecided on bidding for 900MHz licence

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TRUE CORP says it needs two more weeks to consider whether it will join the new auction for a 900-megahertz licence.

The company is waiting for its adviser to study the issue and make recommendations to its board, Suphachai Chearavanont, chief executive officer, said yesterday.

The deadline for submitting a bidding proposal is May 18.

Only two incumbent mobile operators have picked up bid documents – Advanced Wireless Network of Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move H Universal Communication of True Corp.

The other operator, Total Access Communication (DTAC), recently said it would stay out of the auction.

Suphachai also said about the possible signing of a memorandum of understanding with AIS that it was in line with the government’s plan to settle their disputes before the new auction.

He said that at first True petitioned the Central Administrat|ive Court to deny AIS’s request |to extend further the switch-off date of its second-generation |cellular service to June 30 from April 14.

Not fair

True believed that it was not fair, as it had already paid the first instalment for the 900MHz licence that it won in the last auction.

“We already started the licence with a cost, so it is not fair for us if any company will be allowed to operate a 900MHz service with no spectrum cost,” he said, adding that as the situation became more tense, the government stepped in to clear up the dispute.

He said the MoU would have only two conditions.

“The MoU is due to be signed as soon as possible, but at this time we still have not been confirmed of the signing date. We still don’t know if this MoU will be signed in the end,” he said.

Also yesterday, a major wholesaler and retailer of information-technology products, Com7, entered a business-cooperation arrangement with True Distribution and Sales Co, a subsidiary of True, to manage jointly the sale of products and services at 166 True service centres in Big C and Tesco Lotus stores nationwide.

About 300 stores nationwide under Com7’s management, such as the Banana IT chain, will become True authorised resellers.

Sura Khanittaweekul, CEO| of Com7, said the collaboration was expected to strengthen |the potential of both True and Com7.

Junta orders telecom auction

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Telecommunications Commission to hold a new auction on May 27 for a licence on the 900-spectrum recently forfeited by Jas Mobile Broadband.

Telecommunications Commission to hold a new auction on May 27 for a licence on the 900-spectrum recently forfeited by Jas Mobile Broadband.

AS EXPECTED, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) yesterday officially ordered the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to hold a new auction on May 27 for a licence on the 900-spectrum recently forfeited by Jas Mobile Broadband.

It had been announced on Monday that the junta would invoke its special power under Article 44 of the interim charter to execute the order on the matter as requested by the NBTC. The order was signed yesterday by NCPO leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also prime minister.

The junta also ordered the NBTC to extend further the period Advanced Info Service (AIS) has to shut down the second-generation cellular service it operates on 900MHz to June 30 or the date the NBTC awards the 900MHz licence to the winning bidder, whichever comes first.

The previous deadline was April 14.

It is the first time the junta has invoked the special power to intervene in the telecom industry.

AIS’s share price yesterday inched up 0.66 per cent to close at Bt152.50, while that of Total Access Communication (DTAC) rose 0.74 per cent to close at Bt34. True’s share price soared 3.45 per cent to close at Bt7.50, and Jas surged 6.95 per cent to close at Bt4.

Under the order, the NBTC will auction the 900MHz licence (a pair of bands from 895-905MHz and 940-950MHz) forfeited by Jas. Any companies can join in the auction, except Jas. The bid starts at Bt75.654 billion, the final price quoted by Jas to win this band in the previous auction last December.

Qualified bidders will have to place a guarantee of Bt3.783 billion to enter the auction.

If need be and subject to NCPO approval, the NBTC telecom committee can add more conditions to ensure fair bidding and protect the national interest.

The term of the 900MHz licence the NBTC has already issued to TrueMove H Universal Communication (TUC) will end on the same date as the licence it will put up for auction next month. The telecom committee will specify later when the TUC licence term expires. Originally it was to end on March 15, 2031.

Moreover, according to the order, the new auction will not affect the right of relevant state agencies to claim compensation for damages arising from the need to call the new bid.

The NBTC telecom committee is examining how to claim possible compensation from Jas for its failure to pay the initial instalment |of the upfront licence fee by the deadline of March 21, which obliged the commission to hold the new |auction.

A telecom analyst said the starting bid of Bt75.654 billion meant there is no price difference the watchdog could claim from Jas for its dropping of the licence.