Ericsson: LTE mobile networks ascendant in Thailand
Mobile service through long-term evolution (LTE) networks will be the dominant technology in Thailand by 2023, says the head of Ericsson Thailand.
When 5G service is adopted through LTE, 5G/LTE will account for 76% of total subscriptions in the country by 2023, compared with just 36% in 2017.
Nadine Allen, president and country manager of Ericsson Thailand, said 5G is expected to roll out in Thailand between 2020 and 2022 and offers significant business potential for Thai operators.
Ericsson forecasts that operators can add revenue of up to US$2.6 billion (86.1 billion baht), or a 22% increase in incremental revenue to forecast service revenue by 2026.
The largest sectors for 5G revenue are manufacturing, energy/utilities and public safety.
Breaking down 5G addressable revenue by cluster in Thailand by 2026, real-time automation and enhanced video services will benefit to the tune of $400 million each, followed by monitoring/tracking and connected vehicles with $300 million. Hazard and maintenance sensing, smart surveillance and autonomous robotics each will gain $200 million in revenue by 2026.
In addition, remote operations and augmented reality (AR) each will achieve $100 million by 2026.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report of June 2018, mobile data usage continues to increase in Thailand, with video and social media usage driving growth.
In the period of April 2017 to April 2018, the proportion of subscribers with data usage above 5GB a month has grown from 46% to over 58%.
Propelling the shift is growing data consumption by consumers, greater smartphone penetration and attractive data packages offered by operators.
Also, Thai users have increased their mobile usage of Facebook by 58% while almost doubling their use of Instagram.
Mrs Allen said 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) are fundamental to realising the Digital Thailand vision, so operators and the government should prepare now to capitalise on the full potential of the upcoming 5G era.
5G technology could provide up to 100 times faster data rates than 4G, creating opportunities for new use cases in IoT, AR/VR applications, smart vehicles, remote healthcare and robotics.
Like previous mobile access technologies, 5G is expected to be deployed first in dense urban areas with enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access as the first commercial use case. Other use cases will come from industries such as automotive, manufacturing, utilities and healthcare.
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice-president and head of business area networks at Ericsson, said 2018 is the year that 5G networks will go commercial, along with large-scale deployments of cellular IoT.
These technologies promise new capabilities that will impact people's lives and transform industries. This change will only come about through the combined efforts of industry players and regulators aligning on spectrum, standards and technology.
First-generation or 5G data-only devices are expected to surface from the second half of 2018. The first commercial smartphones will support 5G in the mid-bands, while support for very high spectrum bands is expected in early to mid-2019.
North America is expected to lead the 5G uptake, with all major US operators planning to roll out 5G between late 2018 and mid-2019.
Globally, major 5G deployments are expected from 2020. Ericsson forecasts more than 1 billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2023, accounting for about 12% of all mobile subscriptions.
By the end of 2023, close to 50% of all mobile subscriptions in North America are forecast to be for 5G, followed by Northeast Asia at 34% and Western Europe at 21%.
Mobile data traffic is estimated to surge by eight times during the forecast period to reach close to 107 exabytes a month -- a figure that is equal to every mobile subscriber worldwide streaming full HD video for 10 hours.
The report also forecast that by 2023, more than 20% of mobile data traffic worldwide is expected to be carried by 5G networks. This is 1.5 times more than the total 4G/3G/2G traffic today.
Cellular IoT connections have nearly doubled since November 2017. They are now expected to reach an estimated 3.5 billion in 2023, driven by ongoing large-scale deployments in China.
Previously, the Thai government set 5G tech adoption as a critical agenda item for the country, with use cases envisioned by 2020.