Thailand gearing up for 5G as 4G growth slows – R&M

Thailand gearing up for 5G as 4G growth slows – R&M

Thailand has seen a very rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past six years driven by strong growth of 4G mobile subscribers, reports Research & Markets.

Slowing growth is predicted over the next five to seven years to 2024. The mobile broadband market will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they roll out their 4G and 5G networks and improving tariffs due to strong competition.

Penetration in the fixed line market in Thailand has been declining at a significant and increasing rate over the past five years. A major reason for this is due to the dominance of the mobile segment and the growth of the mobile broadband segment. The market is predicted to further decline over the next five years to 2024 as both mobile and mobile broadband penetration continue to increase.

There is strong interest to establish 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 the country is small compared to Thailand. Power stability is still a problem there to some extent, while network performance and quality limited due to restricted fibre connectivity. This is restricting customers migrating to colocation or cloud services within data centres.

The Thailand 4.0 vision has been developed from a realisation that digital technologies can drive socio-economic development and economic growth of countries. As a part of its Thailand 4.0 initiative, the country has set itself the target of creating at least 100 smart cities within its borders over the next two decades.

The expansion of broadband internet in Thailand in the early stages saw the widespread adoption of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services, together with some significantly lesser deployment of the cable modem option, as well as some broadband wireless access. The transition to these other technology platforms had previously been inhibited by the Thai regulatory environment which saw ISPs unwilling to invest heavily in the necessary infrastructure.

Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) continues to grow strongly in major metropolitan areas. AIS commercially launched its residential fibre broadband service, 'AIS Fibre', offering connection speeds of up to 1Gbps via FTTH.

Thailand has witnessed reasonably strong growth in the fixed broadband market over the past few years from a relatively small base. However, fixed broadband penetration remains relatively low compared to other developed Asian telco markets due to a limited number of fixed lines and the dominance of the mobile platform. Over the next five years to 2024 strong but gradually declining growth is predicted as the major providers continue to roll out their fibre networks.

Thailand's mobile market is highly developed and has experienced strong growth over the last seven years; however, growth has become much slower over the past few years due to the heightened level of maturity. Very slow growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024 with annual growth rates further easing. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to a saturated mobile subscriber market and strong local competition.

Thailand is making good progress towards the launch of 5G services. In late 2018 the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) allowed operators to use the 26GHz spectrum range for the first round of 5G technology.

MNVOs in Thailand are generally struggling to compete with bigger rivals amid highly intense competition.

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