Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Telecommunications

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country and includes a market overview and trade data.

Overview>

Thailand is transforming itself into a digital economy and the government has a vision to maximize digital technologies in all areas of its society and economy.  Therefore, growth in the information, communications, and technology (ICT) sector will be stimulated by the government’s plans to create a digital economy, which is officially named the 3rd ICT Master Plan, and the National Digital Economy Policy and Plan (2016-2020).  The government’s comprehensive ICT Policy Framework 2020 also involves a number of development strategies and goals, including universal broadband, a competent ICT workforce, a competitive ICT industry, digital government, ICT to make the country more competitive, ICT to improve society, and ICT for the environment. 

In December 2015, the Cabinet set aside $571 million for the Ministry to build a national broadband infrastructure to provide affordable Internet to 70,000 villages (93% of total villages) nationwide.  The 30 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband Internet speed for villages is in line with a five-year master plan to develop the country’s hard infrastructure, aiming to boost the minimum standard for broadband speed nationwide.  As per the National Broadband project, the government aimed to bring low cost broadband access to every village in Thailand by the end of 2018.  The government envisions that this development will enable Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to leverage ICT solutions and platforms to make their business competitive by improving their productivity and efficiency.  The Thai government created 10,000 registered community e-commerce units by the end of fiscal year 2018 and plans to increase the number to 25,000 by 2020.

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society also plans to build a regional Internet gateway by adding more submarine cable lines to accommodate growing usage and also become an Internet connectivity hub in ASEAN by 2020.  This project value is estimated at $143 million.

Investing in the country’s submarine cable lines, connecting from Thailand to India and Hong Kong, will attract more Internet traffic from the Greater Mekong sub-region, which is currently servicing 270 million people.  This project (the so-called Asia Pacific Gateway or APG) extends 10,900 kilometers and uses technology to expand bandwidth capable of data transmission at a speed of 54 terabit per second (Tbps); the capacity of this bandwidth is higher than all systems recently used in Thailand.  Currently, Thailand has only 7 submarine cable lines, which are owned and operated by state enterprise CAT Telecom, compared to Singapore’s 20 submarine cable lines and Malaysia’s 12.

According to the National Broadcast and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), the Thai government is expected to hold an auction for seven megahertz spectrum licenses (for 5G service) in December 2019 and aiming to deploy 5G service by 2020.  These 5G licenses will be valid from 20 years.  As such, this will increase mobile broadband penetration by 133% in the next couple years, which would lead to a cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increase of $23 billion by 2020.

The best prospects include cloud computing, telecommunications infrastructure, network management, security equipment and solutions, mobility, and the Internet of things (IoT).).

 

  2016 2017 2018 2019(Estimated)
Total Local Production 3,705 3,931 3,863 3,960
Total Exports 1,544 1,637 1,609 1,650
Total Imports 2,470 2,621 2,575 2,640
Imports from the US
 
247 235.8 231.7 264
Total Market Size 7,720 8,189 8,048 8,251
Exchange Rates 32 32 31 31

Total Market Size = (total local production + imports) - exports in millions of U.S. dollars.
Source: NBTC

  Leading Sub Sectors>

  • Internet of Things (IoT)

  • Mobile Security and Solutions

  • Cloud Computing

  • Telecommunication Infrastructure

  • Network Management

Opportunities> Thailand is  endeavoring to become ASEAN’s digital infrastructure hub by 2020 and is implementing the government’s “Thailand 4.0” policy.  As a result, the telecommunication business is a significant driver for these national projects.  For example, broadband connectivity will be spread out across the country by 2018, both in big cities and in over 75,000 villages.  This plan will create rising demand for online services, the IoT and innovation applications like smart vehicles and transport infrastructure, remote healthcare, and robotics as the country transforms itself into a digital society.
  Web Resources>

Ministry of Information and Communications Technology

www.mict.go.th 

Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission
www.nbtc.go.th