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Thailand - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Published By :

BuddeComm

Published Date : Aug 2014

Category :

Broadband

No. of Pages : 164 Pages


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.
Table of Contents

1. Key Statistics
1.1 Country overview
1.1.1 Background
1.1.2 Economy
1.1.3 Military coup in Thailand – May 2014

2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview
2.2 Background
2.3 Political turmoil and its impact on the telecom sector
2.4 Government controls over the internet
2.4.1 Background
2.4.2 Post- May 2014 coup

3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Regulatory reform
3.1.1 Background
3.1.2 Telecommunications Act 2001
3.1.3 Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT)
3.2 Regulatory authorities
3.2.1 National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
3.2.2 National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)
3.2.3 Master Plans (including Frequency Allocation Master Plan)
3.3 Regulatory developments:
3.3.1 2014
3.3.2 2013
3.3.3 2012
3.3.4 ‘Corruption’ in 3G auction process
3.4 Regulatory developments: pre-2012
3.4.1 Social media
3.4.2 Concession conversion
3.4.3 Taxation
3.4.4 Foreign ownership
3.4.5 Interconnection charges
3.4.6 National numbering scheme
3.4.7 Third generation (3G) mobile licences
3.4.8 WiMAX

4. Major Operators
4.1 Operating environment for operators
4.1.1 Market overview
4.1.2 Background
4.1.3 Mobile market
4.1.4 Operator statistics
4.2 Major operators
4.2.1 Advanced Info Service (AIS)
4.2.2 DTAC
4.2.3 True Corp
4.2.4 Telephone Organization of Thailand Corp (TOT)
4.2.5 Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT)
4.2.6 Thai Mobile, TOT and CAT
4.2.7 TT&T

5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 National telecom network
5.1.1 Overview
5.2 Fixed-line network
5.2.1 Background
5.2.2 Statistics
5.2.3 Public payphones
5.3 Next Generation Network (NGN)
5.4 International infrastructure
5.4.1 Overview
5.4.2 Submarine cable networks
5.4.3 Submarine cable systems under construction or proposed
5.4.4 Satellite networks

6. Internet Market
6.1 Overview
6.2 One Tablet Per Child (OTPC) project
6.3 Lese majeste laws
6.4 Cloud services
6.5 Data Centres
6.6 Internet statistics
6.7 ISP market
6.7.1 Overview
6.7.2 Market restructuring
6.8 Thailand’s internet gateway exchanges
6.8.1 Overview
6.8.2 Opening up of gateway market
6.9 Regulatory issues
6.9.1 Background
6.10 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

7. Broadband Market
7.1 Overview
7.2 Broadband statistics
7.3 Major broadband operators
7.3.1 Statistics
7.3.2 True Online
7.4 National Broadband Policy
7.4.1 True’s fixed broadband project
7.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
7.5.1 Background
7.6 Cable modem
7.6.1 Background
7.7 Internet via satellite
7.7.1 Background
7.8 Wireless internet
7.8.1 WiFi
7.8.2 Free WiFi hotspot project
7.8.3 WiMAX
7.9 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)

8. Digital Media
8.1 Broadcasting market
8.1.1 Overview
8.1.2 Regulatory environment
8.1.3 Regulatory developments - 2013
8.1.4 Digital TV
8.1.5 Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)
8.1.6 Free-to-Air (FTA) TV
8.1.7 Pay TV

9. Mobile Communications
9.1 Overview
9.1.1 Smartphones
9.1.2 2100MHZ 3G launch marks big change in market 
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.3 Competition
9.4 OTT
9.5 Regulatory developments
9.5.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
9.5.2 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
9.5.3 Interconnection arrangements
9.5.4 CAT Telecom / TrueMove partnership
9.5.5 National security
9.5.6 Frequency spectrum issues
9.5.7 Tariffs
9.5.8 Interconnection charges
9.5.9 Network sharing regulations
9.5.10 3G roaming agreements
9.6 Mobile technologies
9.6.1 CDMA
9.6.2 PCT service
9.6.3 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
9.6.4 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
9.6.5 Third Generation (3G) mobile
9.6.6 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
9.7 Mobile voice services
9.7.1 Prepaid
9.8 Mobile data services
9.8.1 Overview
9.8.2 Short Message Service (SMS)
9.8.3 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
9.8.4 Mobile payment schemes
9.9 Mobile content and applications
9.9.1 Overview
9.9.2 Mobile TV

10. Forecasts
10.1 Forecasts – fixed-line subscribers – 2015; 2020
10.2 Forecasts – internet subscribers – 2015; 2020
10.3 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020

List of Table


Table 1 – Country statistics – 2014
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2013
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2013
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2013
Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 – Thailand’s real GDP growth rate – 2006 - 2015
Table 8 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2013
Table 9 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – 2013
Table 10 – Mobile operators, 3G subscribers and market share – 2013
Table 11 – Mobile operators, 3G subscribers and market share – March 2014
Table 12 – Monthly ARPU (postpaid, prepaid, blended) for major mobile operators – 2012
Table 13 – Fixed-line operators and subscribers – 2009; 2012
Table 14 – Fixed-line operators and payphones – 2009; 2012
Table 15 – AIS: subscribers and market share – 2004; 2007 - 2014
Table 16 – AIS: 3G subscribers – 2011 - 2014
Table 17 – AIS: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid and prepaid) – June 2014
Table 18 – AIS: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2007 - 2014
Table 19 – AIS: number of data users – 2008 - 2014
Table 20 – AIS: proportion of revenue from non-voice – 2008 - 2014
Table 21 – AIS: capital expenditure – 2008 - 2014
Table 22 – DTAC: total mobile subscribers and market share – 2002 - 2014
Table 23 – DTAC: 3G subscribers – 2011 - 2014
Table 24 – DTAC: Mobile data subscribers – 2011 – 2012: 2014
Table 25 – DTAC: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid and prepaid) – 2013
Table 26 – DTAC: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2008 - 2014
Table 27 – True’s total revenues – 2004 - 2013
Table 28 – True Corp: capital expenditure – 2007 - 2014
Table 29 – True’s fixed-line subscribers – 2004 - 2014
Table 30 – True’s fixed line ARPU – 2004 - 2014
Table 31 – True’s payphone ARPU – 2004 - 2014
Table 32 – True Move: total mobile subscribers and market share – 2004 - 2014
Table 33 – True Move: 3G subscribers – 2011 - 2014
Table 34 – True Move: mobile subscribers and ARPU (postpaid / prepaid) – 2013
Table 35 – True Move: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2007 - 2014
Table 36 – True Move H: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2011 - 2012
Table 37 – TrueMove: proportion of revenue from non-voice – 2008 - 2014
Table 38 – True’s PCT subscribers – 2004 - 2012
Table 39 – TrueOnline’s fixed broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2014
Table 40 – Historical - TrueOnline’s fixed internet subscribers – 2003 - 2012
Table 41 – TOT’s fixed-line subscribers – 2005 - 2013
Table 42 – TOT’s total revenues – 2005 - 2013
Table 43 – TOT’s payphones – 2005 - 2013
Table 44 – TOT: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
Table 45 – TOT’s broadband services – 2007 - 2013
Table 46 – TOT’s broadband internet ports in service – 2011
Table 47 – Thai Mobile Telecom’s subscriber growth – 2002 - 2009
Table 48 – CAT Telecom’s subscriber growth – 2006 – 2009; 2012
Table 49 – Hutchison CAT: subscribers and market share – 2003; 2007 - 2010
Table 50 – TT&T’s fixed-line subscribers – 2009 - 2013
Table 51 – Triple T Broadband’s subscribers – 2004; 2007 – 2012
Table 52 – Fixed lines and teledensity – 1995 - 2014
Table 53 – Estimated fixed-line subscribers by operator – 2012
Table 54 – Estimated fixed-line subscribers – metro vs provincial – 2011
Table 55 – Public payphones in service – 2004 - 2013
Table 56 – Public payphones by provider – 2012
Table 57 – Historical - Internet users – 1996 - 2006
Table 58 – Internet users – 2007 - 2014
Table 59 – Historical - Fixed internet subscribers – 1997 - 2005
Table 60 – Fixed internet subscribers – 2007 - 2014
Table 61 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2014
Table 62 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2001 - 2014
Table 63 – Fixed broadband subscribers and households – 2013
Table 64 – DSL subscribers – 2002 - 2014
Table 65 – Cable modem subscribers – 2011 - 2013
Table 66 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2013
Table 67 – Major fixed broadband providers and subscribers – 2012
Table 68 – True – fixed broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2014
Table 69 – Fibre-based broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2013
Table 70 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2013
Table 71 – Digital TV – licence categories – number of licences and bidders – October 2013
Table 72 – Historical - Pay TV subscribers – 1996 - 2002
Table 73 – Historical - Pay TV subscribers by platform – 2002 - 2009
Table 74 – Cable TV subscribers – 2010 - 2013
Table 75 – Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV subscribers – 2010 - 2013
Table 76 – True Visions - pay TV subscribers – 1998 - 2014
Table 77 – True Visions – Pay TV and FTA subscribers – 2007 - 2013
Table 78 – True Visions – pay TV ARPU – 2003 - 2013
Table 79 – Mobile subscribers, penetration and annual growth – 1999 - 2014
Table 80 – Total 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2014
Table 81 – Mobile operators, 3G subscribers and market share – March 2014
Table 82 – Mobile services revenue and ARPU – 1998 - 2013
Table 83 – Mobile operators, subscribers and market share – 2013
Table 84 – ARPU (postpaid, prepaid, blended) for major mobile operators – 2010; 2012
Table 85 – Mobile subscribers – prepaid and postpaid – 2006 - 2013
Table 86 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2013
Table 87 – Forecast fixed-line subscribers and penetration rate – 2015; 2020
Table 88 – Forecast fixed broadband internet subscribers and penetration – 2015; 2020
Table 89 – Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rate –2015; 2020

List of Chart


Chart 1 - Thailand\'s real GDP growth rate - 2006-2015
Chart 2 - Mobile operators market share – 2014
Chart 3 – Monthly ARPU for major mobile operators – 2012
Chart 4 – AIS: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2007 - 2014
Chart 5 - DTAC: total mobile subscribers and market share - 2002 – 2014
Chart 6 – DTAC: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) – 2008 - 2014
Chart 7 - True Move: total mobile subscribers and market share - 2004 – 2014
Chart 8 - True Move: ARPU (postpaid, prepaid and blended) - 2007 – 2014
Chart 9 – Hutchison CAT: subscribers and market share – 2003; 2007-2010
Chart 10 - Fixed lines and teledensity - 2003-2014
Chart 11 - Public payphones in service - 2004-2013
Chart 12 - Internet users - 2007 - 2014
Chart 13 – Internet subscribers – 2007 - 2014
Chart 14 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2002 - 2014
Chart 15 - Mobile services revenue and ARPU - 2002 - 2013
Chart 16 - Mobile operators and market share – 2013
Chart 17 - Mobile subscribers - prepaid and postpaid - 2006-2013

Exhibit 1 – Thailand’s Foreign Ownership legislation for telecom sector
Exhibit 2 – Major operators by market segment
Exhibit 3 – Statement by Telenor on status of DTAC concession in Thailand – March 2013
Exhibit 4 – True Corp’s major shareholders – March 2012
Exhibit 5 – Submarine cable networks - 2012
Exhibit 6 – Thaicom’s satellite network – June 2014
Exhibit 7 – Licensed ISPs in Thailand – 2012
Exhibit 8 – ISPs operated by telecom companies
Exhibit 9 – International internet gateway operators in Thailand – 2011
Exhibit 10 – Digital TV licensing categories and companies purchasing bid papers –October 2013
Exhibit 11 – FTA TV Broadcasters
Exhibit 12 – Major mobile operators and foreign shareholders – June 2013

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