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Thailand - Key Statistics, Telecommunications Market, Regulatory and Infrastructure Overview and Forecasts

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

This report provides an overview of the telecommunications market in Thailand and the regulatory reform that is taking place, together with a selection of the most recent available key indicators for the sector. The overview includes information on the national telecommunications infrastructure. The report also includes scenario forecasts for fixed line subscribers.
The country’s telecom industry has undergone a period of strong growth which has started to moderate in the last few years. The mobile market has been a case in point growing by substantial amounts annually and passing the 100% penetration milestone. Growth slowed as the economy turned down in 2009 and by 2012 the annual growth rate in the mobile market was around 6%. While the country has gained considerably from a liberalised telecoms sector, there still remains much work to be done on regulatory reform. Of particular concern was the respective roles into the future of the two state-owned enterprises – TOT and CAT; it was not clear how the government was going to handle the reforms needed in this regard. The industry had long been waiting on the establishment of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), the new regulator. This finally happened in the second half of 2011, offering some fresh hope that the much needed reforms would become a reality.

Key developments:

the NBTC signalled a positive note when it proceeded with the 2100MHz 3G auction in October 2012 and issued the necessary licences;
the NBTC approved revised regulations aimed at preventing foreign dominance in the local telecom industry;
2013 was declared ‘the year of consumer protection’ by the NBTC, as it embarked on a campaign to enforce industry regulations;
social media continued to prove controversial in Thailand;
the NBTC’s new frequency allocation master plan will allow it to address the many spectrum issues that currently need attention;
the regulator authorised AIS and then both DTAC and True to carry out 4G LTE mobile trials;
TrueMove used the 2100MHz 3G licence to move straight to a 4G network;
The three major mobile operators agreed with the NBTC to adopt new interconnection regime.

Companies covered in this report include:

TOT Corp; CAT Telecom; True Corp; True Move; TT&T; AIS; DTAC; Hutchison CAT; ShinSat/Thaicom.

1. Synopsis
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
3.1 Background
3.2 Economy
4. Thailand’s telecom market
4.1 Overview
4.2 Background
4.3 Political turmoil and its impact on the telecom sector
4.4 Government controls over the internet
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Regulatory reform
5.1.1 Background
5.1.2 Telecommunications Act 2001
5.1.3 Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT)
5.2 Regulatory authorities
5.2.1 National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
5.2.2 National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)
5.2.3 Master Plans (including Frequency Allocation Master Plan)
5.3 Regulatory developments:
5.3.1 2013
5.3.2 2012
5.4 Regulatory developments: pre-2012
5.4.1 Social media
5.4.2 Concession conversion
5.4.3 Taxation
5.4.4 Foreign ownership
5.4.5 Interconnection charges
5.4.6 National numbering scheme
5.4.7 Third generation (3G) mobile licences
5.4.8 WiMAX
5.4.9 Privatisation
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Overview
6.2 Fixed-line network
6.2.1 Background
6.2.2 Statistics
6.2.3 Forecasts – fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
6.2.4 Public payphones
6.3 Next Generation Network (NGN)
6.4 International infrastructure
6.4.1 Overview
6.4.2 Submarine cable networks
6.4.3 Submarine cable systems under construction or proposed
6.4.4 Satellite networks
7. Notes on scenario forecasts
8. Related reports
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2012
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 – Thailand’s real GDP growth rate – 2006 - 2014
Table 8 – Fixed lines and teledensity – 1995 - 2013
Table 9 – Estimated fixed-line subscribers by operator – 2011
Table 10 – Estimated fixed-line subscribers – metro vs provincial – 2011
Table 11 – Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration rate – 2015; 2020
Table 12 – Public payphones in service – 2004 - 2012
Table 13 – Public payphones by provider – 2011
Chart 1 - Thailands real GDP growth rate - 2006-2013
Chart 2 – Fixed and mobile subscribers – 1999 - 2010
Chart 3 - Fixed lines and teledensity - 2000-2012
Chart 4 - Public payphones in service - 2004-2011
Exhibit 1 – Thailand’s Foreign Ownership legislation for telecom sector
Exhibit 2 – Submarine cable networks - 2012
Exhibit 3 – Thaicom’s satellite network – June 2013

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