Oct. 03--Total Access Communication (DTAC) customers using third-generation (3G) mobile broadband service on the 850-megahertz spectrum will likely experience weaker cellular signals along the border with Laos.
The weak signals in Udon Thani and Nong Khai, two provinces along the Laotian border, came after the mobile operator agreed to reduce its cellular signal strength in order to alleviate interference.
The resolution came after the Thai-Lao Joint Technical Committee on Coordination and Assignment of Frequencies last month concluded negotiations tackling the problem.
AVM Thanapant Raicharoen, deputy secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said concerns over signal interference were raised two years ago.
He said the negotiations suggested DTAC's 3G mobile signal is very strong and caused serious interference to mobile users of Enterprise of Telecommunications Lao (ETL) on the 900-MHz spectrum. Vientiane is the most affected service area.
ETL claims almost half its customers have shifted to other networks due to the problem.
AVM Thanapant said DTAC has pledged to limit the effective signal strength and coverage by not spanning the signal across the Mekong River, but the move will affect DTAC customers in those areas.
The NBTC also expressed concern over the increasing number of complaints about expensive international roaming service between the two countries, he said.
This is because current mobile phones will automatically choose the network service with the strongest signal.
To ease this problem, AVM Thanapant suggested mobile users in both countries switch off the automatic roaming mode on their phones and choose the self-determining mobile network instead.
"I believe the greater number of complaints and the level of the problem can be alleviated next year once Thailand's 3G mobile service expands nationwide," he said.
AVM Thanapant said the issue will be raised at the next meeting of the two countries' joint technical committee.