True prepares to ease into 5G with China Mobile support
Competitive edge expected via partner
True Corporation plans a soft launch of 5G wireless broadband within 2-3 months via True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) following the auction of 2600-megahertz spectrum, which is expected in the first quarter of next year.
The company has shown interest in joining the auction.
Through close collaboration with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile operator in terms of subscriber base, TUC will bring in practical use cases and solutions, adopting them to the local market faster than rivals, said Kittinut Tikawan, president of True Corporation.
TUC's parent company Charoen Pokphand (CP) could also leverage 5G use case development from China Mobile as well as support TUC through a variety of business sectors.
"China Mobile is a good role model for TUC, providing services to more than 900 million subscribers," said Mr Kittinut.
China Mobile, which is a leading commercial 5G provider, has rolled out 5G cell sites in around 40 cities in China.
More than 3,000 cell sites were installed in Chengdu.
He was speaking in Chengdu at a partnership meeting with China Mobile's representatives and said full 5G adoption in Thailand is expected by 2021, pending the development of the infrastructure, proper use cases and solution development.
Enhanced mobile broadband, thanks to 5G adoption, would provide new experiences for consumers, including virtual reality and augmented reality.
"5G adoption in the beginning stages will be seen in major cities with population and business density, as well as close proximity to industrial zones," said Mr Kittinut.
He said TUC has been working with several core industrial sectors under a partnership to develop 5G for adoption. The cooperation encompasses the healthcare, retail, energy, security, manufacturing and logistics sectors.
These industrial sectors need to adopt innovation to resolve existing business pain points as well as create a new S-curve business model for operational management to cope with rapid changes in the digital economy era.
Mr Kittinut said spectrum ranges for 5G are key targets for mobile operators' investment.
The Chinese government has given away spectrum ranges to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom for the sake of 5G adoption in the country.
The low cost of digital infrastructure for 5G service should help promote 5G adoption in the country, he said.
Mobile operators can spend more money on developing R&D to optimise business use cases through collaboration with vertical industries, said Mr Kittinut.
He said 5G adoption should be added to the Thai national agenda.
"The government is establishing a national 5G committee, which indicates they understand 5G is a critical issue for the country," said Mr Kittinut.
China Mobile and True Group have been working closely in six business areas: products/value-added service/content; international business; networks; device procurement; general procurement; and human resources.
This cooperation is to support True Group's vision to become the leader in 5G technology in Thailand, with China Mobile facilitating 5G business development and network preparation, he said.
Mr Kittinut said TUC has learned substantially from China Mobile's experience in terms of 5G network and technology, use cases for consumers and industry, best practices as well as training and exchange programmes for employees and partners.
Naris Rangsinoppamas, deputy director of planning and strategy of TUC, said the standard for ultra-reliable low-latency communication for the 5G system is expected to be stipulated by 3GPP, a standards organisation that develops protocols for mobile telephony, by the end of this year.
The standard for massive machine type communication for the Internet of Things is expected to be defined by 3GPP by next year, he said.