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Thailand - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Thailand - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Thailand’s military coup creates further challenges for the telecom sector.

The one single feature that characterises the Thai telecom industry has arguably been the stop-start approach to sector reform and re-regulation. An important step was taken with the Telecommunications Act being adopted as law back in 2000, but over the last decade or so successive governments have moved slowly on its implementation.

Then, following a period of serious political instability, in May 2014 there was a military coup that threw the administration of the country into a new phase. The junta that took power signalled a clear intention to take control of the country for a significant ‘transition’ period. During this time they intended to continue the full administration of the country and inevitably this meant certain things would change. This of course was to impact in a major way on the telecom sector.

By 2014 a range of deregulation issues were still crying out to be addressed. But the military coup made for an uncertain future. One of the big structural reform issues – the defining of the roles and the restructuring of TOT and CAT – was demanding urgent attention. In fairness to the industry regulator at the time, the industry over the years has not seen a sustained period of consistent policy direction from government. The market had been waiting a long time for the creation of the promised new regulator as well as for the allocation of 3G spectrum.

Thailand finally got its new regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), in 2011. With the appointment of the board members, the new commission was able to start operating in its defined role. Things have now started to happen. The commission’s first half year of operation certainly saw a lot of positive action. And most importantly the 3G licence auction took place as scheduled in October 2012. Even more critically was that it took place against considerable opposition. The regulator continued to be resolute meaning that real change was taking place.

Thailand’s mobile market saw growth slow as the national economy turned down in 2009 and by 2012 the annual growth rate in the mobile market was around 6%. With some easing in the expansion anticipated anyway as the market passed the 100% penetration milestone, the demand for service has been negatively affected by the state of the economy. Nevertheless, on a positive note, mobile subscriptions having more than doubled over the past six years and penetration had reached almost 140% by early 2014. The market’s long run of robust expansion, a run that had started in 2000, was probably coming to a close. As growth in the mobile market began to slow, the operators were hoping that their newly launched 3G networks would help stimulate fresh business growth for them. A once all-powerful duopoly - AIS and DTAC – was still dominating the market despite the challenge of the other players. In reality, number three in the mobile market, True Move, was the only one to challenge the big two in any fashion.

The Thai internet market has been continuing on a growth path over the last number of years. The demand for internet and internet-related services finally began to increase, as evidenced by the expanding volume of international bandwidth. Recognising that the surge in services has been occurring from a relatively low base, Thailand still has a lot of development work to do to catch up to some of the other countries in the region. The country’s estimated PC penetration rate, for example, was still less than 25% at end-2013 and, although moving rapidly, the development of high-speed access had really only just started. Operators were looking at a variety of delivery methods to augment internet penetration. The burgeoning mobile market in Thailand ensured that mobile phones, as well as set-top boxes, were high on the list of potential delivery devices. At the same time, the cybercafe in its different forms had already established itself as a key element in the country’s access equation. Most importantly, with 3G and even 4G services being rolled out in a significant way, mobile broadband was booming and the smartphone and tablet market has been running hot.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2014
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2013
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2013
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2013
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2013
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
      • Background
      • Economy
        • Table Thailand's real GDP growth rate - 2006 - 2015
      • Military coup in Thailand - May 2014
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
    • BACKGROUND
    • POLITICAL TURMOIL AND ITS IMPACT ON THE TELECOM SECTOR
    • GOVERNMENT CONTROLS OVER THE INTERNET
      • Background
      • Post- May 2014 coup
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • REGULATORY REFORM
      • Background
      • Telecommunications Act 2001
      • Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT)
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITIES
      • National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
      • National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)
      • Master Plans (including Frequency Allocation Master Plan)
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS:
      • 2014
      • 2013
      • 2012
      • `Corruption' in 3G auction process
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS: PRE-2012
      • Social media
      • Concession conversion
      • Taxation
      • Foreign ownership
        • Table Thailand's Foreign Ownership legislation for telecom sector
      • Interconnection charges
      • National numbering scheme
      • Third generation (3G) mobile licences
      • WiMAX
  • MAJOR OPERATORS
    • OPERATING ENVIRONMENT FOR OPERATORS
      • Market overview
      • Background
      • Mobile market
      • Operator statistics
        • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2013
        • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - 2013
        • Table Mobile operators, 3G subscribers and market share - 2013
        • Table Mobile operators, 3G subscribers and market share - March 2014
        • Table Monthly ARPU (postpaid, prepaid, blended) for major mobile operators - 2012
        • Table Fixed-line operators and subscribers - 2009; 2012
        • Table Fixed-line operators and payphones - 2009; 2012
    • MAJOR OPERATORS
      • Advanced Info Service (AIS)
        • Table AIS: subscribers and market share - 2004; 2007 - 2014
        • Table AIS: 3G subscribers - 2011 - 2014
        • Table AIS: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid and prepaid) - June 2014
        • Table AIS: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) - 2007 - 2014
        • Table AIS: number of data users - 2008 - 2014
        • Table AIS: proportion of revenue from non-voice - 2008 - 2014
        • Table AIS: capital expenditure - 2008 - 2014
      • DTAC
        • Table DTAC: total mobile subscribers and market share - 2002 - 2014
        • Table DTAC: 3G subscribers - 2011 - 2014
        • Table DTAC: Mobile data subscribers - 2011 - 2012: 2014
        • Table DTAC: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid and prepaid) - 2013
        • Table DTAC: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) - 2008 - 2014
      • True Corp
        • Table True Corp's major shareholders - March 2012
        • Table True's total revenues - 2004 - 2013
        • Table True Corp: capital expenditure - 2007 - 2014
        • Table True's fixed-line subscribers - 2004 - 2014
        • Table True's fixed line ARPU - 2004 - 2014
        • Table True's payphone ARPU - 2004 - 2014
        • Table True Move: total mobile subscribers and market share - 2004 - 2014
        • Table True Move: 3G subscribers - 2011 - 2014
        • Table True Move: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid / prepaid) - 2013
        • Table True Move: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) - 2007 - 2014
        • Table True Move H: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) - 2011 - 2012
        • Table TrueMove: proportion of revenue from non-voice - 2008 - 2014
        • Table True's PCT subscribers - 2004 - 2012
        • Table TrueOnline's fixed broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2014
        • Table Historical - TrueOnline's fixed internet subscribers - 2003 - 2012
      • Telephone Organization of Thailand Corp (TOT)
        • Table TOT's fixed-line subscribers - 2005 - 2013
        • Table TOT's total revenues - 2005 - 2013
        • Table TOT's payphones - 2005 - 2013
        • Table TOT: 3G subscribers - 2012 - 2013
        • Table TOT's broadband services - 2007 - 2013
        • Table TOT's broadband internet ports in service - 2011
      • Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT)
      • Thai Mobile, TOT and CAT
        • Table Thai Mobile Telecom's subscriber growth - 2002 - 2009
        • Table CAT Telecom's subscriber growth - 2006 - 2009; 2012
        • Table Hutchison CAT: subscribers and market share - 2003; 2007 - 2010
      • TT&T
        • Table TT&T's fixed-line subscribers - 2009 - 2013
        • Table Triple T Broadband's subscribers - 2004; 2007 - 2012
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Overview
    • FIXED-LINE NETWORK
      • Background
      • Statistics
        • Table Fixed lines and teledensity - 1995 - 2014
        • Table Estimated fixed-line subscribers by operator - 2012
        • Table Estimated fixed-line subscribers - metro vs provincial - 2011
      • Public payphones
        • Table Public payphones in service - 2004 - 2013
        • Table Public payphones by provider - 2012
    • NEXT GENERATION NETWORK (NGN)
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Overview
      • Submarine cable networks
        • Table Submarine cable networks
      • Submarine cable systems under construction or proposed
      • Satellite networks
        • Table Thaicom's satellite network - June 2014
  • INTERNET MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
    • ONE TABLET PER CHILD (OTPC) PROJECT
    • LESE MAJESTE LAWS
    • CLOUD SERVICES
    • DATA CENTRES
    • INTERNET STATISTICS
      • Table Historical - Internet users - 1996 - 2006
      • Table Internet users - 2007 - 2014
      • Table Historical - Fixed internet subscribers - 1997 - 2005
      • Table Fixed internet subscribers - 2007 - 2014
      • Table International internet bandwidth - 2000 - 2014
    • ISP MARKET
      • Overview
        • Table ISPs operated by telecom companies
      • Market restructuring
    • THAILAND'S INTERNET GATEWAY EXCHANGES
      • Overview
      • Opening up of gateway market
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Background
    • VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP)
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2001 - 2014
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers and households - 2013
      • Table DSL subscribers - 2002 - 2014
      • Table Cable modem subscribers - 2011 - 2013
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2011 - 2013
    • MAJOR BROADBAND OPERATORS
      • Statistics
        • Table Major fixed broadband providers and subscribers - 2012
        • Table True - fixed broadband subscribers - 2010 - 2014
      • True Online
    • NATIONAL BROADBAND POLICY
      • True's fixed broadband project
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL)
      • Background
    • CABLE MODEM
      • Background
    • INTERNET VIA SATELLITE
      • Background
    • WIRELESS INTERNET
      • WiFi
      • Free WiFi hotspot project
      • WiMAX
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
      • Table Fibre-based broadband subscribers - 2010 - 2013
  • DIGITAL MEDIA
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Overview
        • Table Key broadcasting statistics - 2013
      • Regulatory environment
      • Regulatory developments - 2013
      • Digital TV
        • Table Digital TV - licence categories - number of licences and bidders - October 2013
      • Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)
      • Free-to-Air (FTA) TV
      • Pay TV
        • Table Historical - Pay TV subscribers - 1996 - 2002
        • Table Historical - Pay TV subscribers by platform - 2002 - 2009
        • Table Cable TV subscribers - 2010 - 2013
        • Table Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV subscribers - 2010 - 2013
        • Table True Visions - pay TV subscribers - 1998 - 2014
        • Table True Visions - Pay TV and FTA subscribers - 2007 - 2013
        • Table True Visions - pay TV ARPU - 2003 - 2013
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW
      • Smartphones
      • 2100MHZ 3G launch marks big change in market
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Mobile subscribers, penetration and annual growth - 1999 - 2014
      • Table Total 3G mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2014
      • Table Mobile operators, 3G subscribers and market share - March 2014
      • Table Mobile services revenue and ARPU - 1998 - 2013
      • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and market share - 2013
      • Table ARPU (postpaid, prepaid, blended) for major mobile operators - 2010; 2012
    • COMPETITION
    • OTT
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
      • Interconnection arrangements
      • CAT Telecom / TrueMove partnership
      • National security
      • Frequency spectrum issues
      • Tariffs
      • Interconnection charges
      • Network sharing regulations
      • 3G roaming agreements
    • MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
      • CDMA
      • PCT service
      • General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
    • MOBILE VOICE SERVICES
      • Prepaid
        • Table Mobile subscribers - prepaid and postpaid - 2006 - 2013
    • MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • Overview
        • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2011 - 2013
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
      • Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • Mobile payment schemes
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • Overview
      • Mobile TV
  • FORECASTS
    • FORECASTS - FIXED-LINE SUBSCRIBERS - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration rate - 2015; 2020
    • FORECASTS - INTERNET SUBSCRIBERS - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast fixed broadband internet subscribers and penetration - 2015; 2020
    • FORECASTS - MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rate -2015; 2020

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