The last week of January has seen much activity in Thailand around 3G and its deployment.
True Move, the country’s third-largest mobile phone operator, and state-owned CAT Telecom signed a deal on Thursday morning to handover Hutch-CAT JV CDMA network (by Real Move) and to upgrade it into a 3G HSPA network (by Real Future).
Under that deal, True Move will install HSPA equipments in 1,400 base stations in 25 provinces and then allow CAT Telecom to lease the network.
The dates for the 3G licenses auctions on 2.1GHz band being still unkown, this deal will help both operators to be a step ahead their competitors in the upcoming race for 3G deployment.
Meanwhile, the auction for a 17-billion Bahts (600 million USD) nationwide expansion of TOT 3G network has been the scene of a legal battle. 2 bidders, ZTE – a consortium of ZTE and Forth Corporation – and the Ericsson-A.S. Associate Engineering consortium were ruled out during the screening process. They appealed against TOT’s decision but Thursday 27th evening, on the E-auction eve, the Administrative Court rejected the case.
Finally, on Friday 28th, the SL Consortium of Loxley, Samart, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Huawei Technologies won the E-auction with a final price of approximately 16 billion Bahts. SL Consortium outbid the AU Consortium which consists of Advanced Information Technology, Alcatel-Lucent (Thailand) and United Communication Industry.
TOT plans to launch the 3G network through its MVNOs in major Thai provinces in April.