Thailand’s AIS has earmarked an initial THB10 billion ($318.8 million) budget for deploying 5G across the next year, with the potential for this to increase to THB15 billion.
The market leader was the biggest spender in the country’s recent 5G spectrum auctions, splashing out THB42.1 billion for 5MHz of 700MHz spectrum, 100MHz of 2600MHz, and 1200MHz of 26GHz. The licences are valid for 15 years.
The operator will begin deployment using the 700MHz and 2600MHz bands as these frequencies can be used to offer both 4G and 5G services. Therefore, existing 4G users will benefit from the boosted capacity and coverage.
For the 2600MHz band, AIS is aiming to extend coverage to 50% of the population in major cities – including Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket – over the next four years. Its chief consumer business officer Pratthana Leelapanang noted that the operator would be able to offer downlink speeds in excess of 1Gb/s after obtaining spectrum in this band.
AIS did not reveal its coverage goals for the 700MHz or 26GHz bands. The operator has a total holding of 1450MHz across low to high frequencies.