AIS Leases RAN Equipment to National Telecom for 5G Services

Thai carrier Advanced Info System (AIS) has signed an agreement to lease Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment to state-run operator National Telecom (NT), allowing the company to provide 5G services using its 700 MHz spectrum. The leasing agreement has been approved by the local regulator.

AIS will lease 13,500 base stations to NT over the next two years. In addition, a national roaming deal has been agreed upon until March 2036, where AIS will provide national roaming services to NT free of charge during the construction of the new network infrastructure. As part of a separate agreement, NT will transfer half of its 700 MHz spectrum to AIS, with 20% reserved for MVNOs. AIS will pay THB14.9 billion ($419.6 million) for the spectrum.

State-owned CAT Telecom previously acquired 700 MHz spectrum blocks in 2020, while NT plans to launch 5G services for enterprises using 400 MHz of 26 GHz spectrum acquired from TOT, which merged with CAT Telecom.

Recently, AIS partnered with ZTE and Qualcomm Technologies to test mmWave 5G Standalone technology. The trial achieved downlink speeds of 7.04 Gbps, uplink speeds of 2.12 Gbps, and an end-to-end latency of less than 4 milliseconds.

AIS’s 5G network already covers all 77 provinces of Thailand. The company launched 5G services in February 2020 using various frequency bands and expanded to 5G Standalone in July 2020 with the help of Huawei. AIS currently has nearly 46.1 million subscribers, including 6.8 million 5G subscribers, and has deployed around 26,000 5G base stations nationwide.