Thailand’s Mobile Operators Set To Invest Heavily In Mobile Broadband

20th Ocotober 2008, Bangkok, Thailand: Thailand’s mobile operators are poised to invest around US$4 billion in rolling out Mobile Broadband (HSPA*) services over the next three years following the government’s decision to license new spectrum and allow existing mobile frequencies to be reused for 3G, according to the GSMA, the global trade body for the mobile industry.

The GSMA urges the government to proceed with the 3G licensing process as quickly as possible so that Thailand can fully reap the benefits of Mobile Broadband services, which will provide Thais with easy access to information on health, education, job opportunities, agriculture and many other important aspects of their lives. The rollout of 3G, enhanced by HSPA, will greatly improve the availability of broadband services in Thailand – only 2.2%** of households have broadband connections today and the country lags behind many of its neighbours in this respect.

“Licensing the 2.1GHz band will help Thailand to close the digital divide between urban and rural areas and between Thais and many other south east Asians,” said Ricardo Tavares, Senior Vice President for Public Policy of the GSMA. “While this spectrum will satisfy demand for the next two to three years, the Thai government should also begin moving now towards planning the 2.5GHz spectrum band for Mobile Broadband services using a structure that can accommodate different approaches*** to dividing the available bandwidth between users.”

The GSMA also called on the National Telecommunications Commission of Thailand (NTC), the country’s regulatory authority, to ensure the licensing process is equitable and that the 2.1GHz spectrum is allocated in a way that ensures each operator has sufficient capacity to offer mass-market Mobile Broadband services without any risk of interference.

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Notes to Editors:
*HSPA – High Speed Packet Access, a software upgrade to W-CDMA 3G networks.

** Source: GlobalComms

*** The structure should accommodate both the Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) and Time Division Duplexing (TDD) modes.

About the GSMA:
The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade group representing more than 750 GSM mobile operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association’s members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM connections – over 86% of the world’s mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association’s initiatives.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.

For further information contact:
David Pringle/ Matt Simmons
Email: press@gsm.org