The Nation has news that AIS is launching its 3G service in Bangkok next month.
Advanced Info Service (AIS) plans to start providing 3G wireless broadband services in Bangkok on Feb 1 along with TOT Plc’s 3G services through a data roaming agreement.
The country’s largest mobile-phone operator says it is ready to work with its concession provider TOT in a joint venture or co-investment in the state enterprise’s 3G project if 3G licensing remains stalled.
The article includes a number of interesting mobile usage statistics.
**Mobile internet demand soared by 400% in 2009 (meaning there were 3 million mobile internet users in Thailand in 2008)
**Of the 69 million mobile users in Thailand, 12 million are mobile internet users (17.4% of the country’s total users), although this does not mean Thailand has 12 million 3G users
**Mobile internet users in Thailand are set to rise to 18 million (a 50% increase) largely, we assume, because of the introduction of 3G services, growth of smartphone usage and word of month as mobile internet becomes part of Thai consumer behaviour.
If 12 million mobile internet users is correct (there is no source to back it up) it represents a huge market place of social networking companies who are looking to encourage mobile social networking in Thailand.
Of course the majority of mobile internet subscribers do not currently enjoy the speed and user experience of 3G which affects their patience and interest in accessing social networks from mobile.
AIS expects to gain a minimum of 20,000 new customers in February alone off the back of the 3G launch, while it predicts 2010 will see it add 1.5 million new subscribers to take its customer base to 30 million.
Out-of-towners will be interested in AIS’s plan to expand its 3G services to 15 other provinces and its pledge to invest in fixed-line broadband service in underserved residential areas and with new businesses.