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Thailand - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 16 Sep 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 131

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Thailand’s internet connectivity set to improve with two new submarine cables

Thailand’s telecom sector has seen a continuing shift from fixed-line services to the mobile segment. The decline in fixed-line penetration seen in recent years is expected to continue as subscribers migrate to mobile networks for voice and data services.

The expansion of fixed-line broadband continues though at a relatively low base. There is considerable DSL infrastructure though more recently the emphasis among operators has been to develop FttP networks in urban areas. The transition to fibre from DSL and cable has been facilitated by changes to the regulatory structure which have removed some barriers to investment.

There is also strong interest in establishing Thailand as a data centre hub to serve the region. The size, capacity and spread of existing data centres in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) outside of Thailand is small. Thailand retains some advantages to attract investment, including improved fibre connectivity and international bandwidth. At least two submarine cables expected to be lit in 2021 and 2022 will considerably improve Thailand’s potential as a regional hub.

In addition, the Thailand 4.0 vision – aimed at driving socio-economic development and economic growth via the greater use of ITC – has made progress. Various projects are underway, while at least 100 smart cities are expected to be created over the next two decades.

Thailand’s mobile market is highly developed and has experienced strong growth over the last seven years. Growth has been impacted by measures imposed to address the COVID-19 pandemic, as also through overall maturity and the popularity of multiple SIM card use, which has resulted in a particularly high penetration rate. The sector in general retains considerable potential given the impetus of 5G and the recent spectrum auctions. Anticipated auctions of spectrum in the 700MHz band (being repurposed from digital TV broadcasting), and in the 3.6GHz range will further improve network capacity.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus has had a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments

  • Work begins on the 8,000km MIST submarine cable connecting Thailand to Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, and India;
  • Process of migrating 700MHz spectrum from broadcasting to telecom services gets under way;
  • Thailand improves data centre hub credentials;
  • FttP sector continues to show strong growth in urban areas;
  • Thailand’s mobile market showing greater impetus towards 5G;
  • Report update includes the Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, an assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, the regulator’s 2019 market data updates, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q2 2020, recent market developments.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

TOT Corp; CAT Telecom; True Corp; True Move; TT&T; AIS; DTAC; Thaicom, Triple T Broadband; AIS; DTAC; Cable Thai (CTH).

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