Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (AIS) has launched its 5G internet service – the first operator in the country to do so. AIS 5G is using the 2600-megahertz range it acquired from the country’s spectrum auction held earlier this month and says thousands of its cell sites are compatible with the frequency band.
On Friday, AIS gave a cheque for about 2 billion baht to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission for the first instalment payment for 10 licences on the 2600MHz range it won at the auction. A bank guarantee of 18.8 billion baht was also submitted.
ครั้งแรกของประเทศไทยกับการเปิดสัญญาณและโทรด้วย 5G จาก AIS 5G ที่ 1 ตัวจริงคลื่นมากที่สุด เพื่อคนไทยทุกคน#AIS5Gที่1ตัวจริง#AIS5Gคลื่นมากสุด#AIS5Gเพื่อคนไทย pic.twitter.com/thXkPqwbsYFebruary 23, 2020
AIS chief, Somchai Lertsutiwong, and NBTC chairman, Sukit Khamasunthorn, launched the 5G network at the NBTC office, with a display of AIS's 5G network capacity via a speed test, 4K video streaming and video calls from Thailand’s five major cities.
"AIS opened a new chapter in the industry as the first operator to launch a 5G network in the country on the 2600MHz range," Lertsutiwong said, according to source Bangkok Post.
Full 5G adoption
Lertsutiwong went on to say that although AIS has thousands of cell sites compatible with the 2600MHz range for 5G services, full 5G adoption requires collaboration from all related parties for ecosystem development.
"Real optimum benefits from 5G can be expected within one or two years," Lertsutiwong said. "AIS invites vertical industries to collaborate to shape up the ecosystem and use cases," he continued.
Immediate benefits for 5G ready phone users
The 16 million AIS customers using the company’s 4G service who have smartphones compatible with the 2600MHz range can immediately benefit from the service with 400% increased mobile internet, explained AIS chief consumer business officer Pratthana Leelapanang.
AIS is Thailand’s leading mobile operator by subscribers and says it intends to spend 10-15 billion baht on 5G network expansion over the next 12 months.
The second largest mobile operator in Thailand is True Move H Universal Communication (TUC). TUC won nine licences on the 2600MHz range and eight licences on the 26-gigahertz range, at the country’s recent spectrum auction. TUC plans to use the seven frequency bands it holds for 5G technology.
Samsung's S20 Ultra 5G device, available from March 6 in Thailand, can be used with AIS's 5G service and is now available for pre-booking. Promotional packages for AIS's 5G service are expected around April.