True Move officially kicked off its commercial 3G service yesterday by declaring a “3G war” via an ad that pokes fun at its bigger rivals’ inability to roll out better service.
The country’s third-largest mobile operator called the service a “crucial turning point” in its quest for revenue growth.
To avoid disruption to 2G services, True Move will obtain a new 2G network after its concession expires if the current network buyback negotiations with its concession owner CAT Telecom fail to reach a compromise purchase price.
True Move, through parent True Corporation’s subsidiary Real Move, yesterday officially launched the first phase of its 3G wireless broadband service, True Move H, in Bangkok and 16 other provinces via 3,000 base stations.
The company said the H stood for “High intelligence comprising a High-speed network, a High variety of devices, Hip content and applications, Human service and High value”.
True plans to introduce five phases at a combined cost of 25 billion baht.
The 3G service is being provided under the slogan “Free You” on the 850- megahertz spectrum using high-speed packet access (HSPA) technology under a 14-year network and marketing alliance.
The 3G HSPA network will allow the company to offer theoretical speeds of up to 42 Mbps, while the WiFi network of 100,000 locations will have speed capability of 8 Mbps.
But realistically, speeds will average 2-4 Mbps due to high traffic volume.
True Move’s 3G data tariff plans start from 150 baht per month to use 150 Mb of 3G, Edge and GPRS plus five hours of WiFi service.
The rate increases up to 899 baht a month for unlimited use of all services.
“We plan to become the market leader in wireless broadband, eyeing at least a one-third market share in the next 3-5 years,” said Suphachai Chearavanont, True Corporation’s chief executive.
“We’re a step or two ahead of our bigger rivals [AIS and DTAC].”
He said that as demand for wireless data increases, True Move will be better positioned to compete in terms of speed, coverage and the evolution path of its mobile broadband service.
Mr Suphachai said True Move foresaw a financial turnaround next year with 3G, which is expected to account for almost a fifth of its mobile revenue.
“We expect one million customers to be signed up with us for 3G by year-end, up from 100,000 currently,” he said. ‘The number of our 3G users will top 5 million – the break-even point – by the end of next year.”
Mr Suphachai is confident the group’s deal with CAT on 3G co-marketing contracts complies with the law. However, if the contracts are judged illegal, True will use legal channels to ask for fairness.
Mr Suphachai said True had two strategies to prepare for the expiration of its concession in 2013.
These are focusing on 3G under True Move H; and buying back its 2G network from CAT for 10 billion baht, with annual payments over five years.
Mr Suphachai said the buyback plan was based on the belief that 2G for voice services was unlikely to be obsolete before the company’s concession ends.
Source: Bangkok Post