Ericsson picks up Thai 4G contract
Indigenous Thai telco TrueMove has awarded Ericsson with a contract to roll out a network on the 2.1-GHz spectrum it won in last October’s auction.
TrueMove made headlines when it announced that its RealFuture subsidiary would be using the 15 MHz it has on 2.1-GHz for 4G LTE rather than 3G.
The network will be a multi-mode one with the possibility of dynamic bandwidth allocation between UMTS and LTE depending on network conditions.
Ericsson Thailand head of communications and regulatory affairs Bunyati Kirdniyom said that the technology selected, the RBS 6000, supports bonding between multiple IMT bands and also can switch between FDD and TDD. Though as implemented, the 2.1-GHz network is totally separate from TrueMove’s existing 850 network.
Ericsson will be responsible for project management, system integration, interoperability testing, network design and implementation.
A source, who asked not to be named, indicated that the project was greenfield to avoid having to deal with the contentious issue of concessionary asset reuse.
Neither Ericsson nor TrueMove would comment on specific numbers of the value of the contract.
However, TrueMove did explain that while the current first phase covers only central Bangkok and Bangkok airport, the 2.1-GHz LTE network expansion will cover the greater Bangkok area and 15 major cities across the country by the end of the year with 2,000 base stations.
TrueMove, through its other subsidiaries RealMove and BFKT also has 15 MHz on 850-MHz that it currently uses for 3G under an arrangement with CAT Telecom. RealMove is an MVNO under CAT Telecom, but CAT Telecom in turn outsources its network to BFKT, another True subsidiary.
Both RealMove 850-MHz and RealFuture 2.1-GHz will be marketed as TrueMove H.
TrueMove’s 1800-MHz 2G network concession expires on 15 September but the regulator has recently issued a consumer protection notification that extends the concessions for at least one year to protect TrueMove 2G’s 17 million users.
TrueMove is also in the process of selling off its tower and backhaul assets by issuing an infrastructure fund IPO to raise cash for its core operations.