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26 Jan 2010


Telecommunications, 2010: Recovery – Points to Pursue (Business Brief No.2742)

The Thai economic rebound this year should be a good opportunity for the telecom market to resume growth, especially the mobile phone market that has a proportion of 60-65 percent of the total market value for all telecommunication services here.
It is predicted that utilization will increase, particularly in value-added services that are likely to become more vital to increased income. Competition from state enterprises will also intensify because they will be increasing their activity to find income to offset possible losses if the private sector obtains 3G licenses for 2.1 GHz frequency service in the future. Moreover, there will be five potential new 3G Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) that may attract a substantial volume of customers. Furthermore, mobile number portability beginning in August may affect some existing service providers because 3G availability and efficiency will vary between providers.
Competition in the high-speed internet market is at present rising amid opportunities for expansion. Strategies will likely continue to be price competition and access speeds, as well as access for consumers upcountry and business alliances to increase corporate customers. This will result in the gradual demise of older technologies such as low speed internet services and fixed line telephones.
KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) predicts that the economic recovery, changing consumer behavior, newer telecom technology being used more in many business sectors plus cheaper mobile phones and computers should boost the market value of telecom services in 2010 to around THB255-260 billion, shifting to growth of 3.2-5.3 percent versus a projected 2009 contraction of 2.1 percent on an approximate value of not over THB247 billion.

However, other determining factors for the future of telecom business here include that this new technology will have to undergo state sector consideration and the interpretation of the Council of State about the authority of the National Telecommunication Committee (NTC) toward frequency allocation, plus the forming of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) that will become the direct regulatory body to monitor telecom business, as well as many other issues that service providers have to pursue. These matters, e.g., concessionary conversions before the opening of 3G bidding, checking the revised concession contracts that may affect the financial status of some private service providers, and governmental approval for expanded state enterprise investments, may affect competition in the market.