Data usage among customers of the three major mobile operators surged 11.1% in March from a month earlier as more people work from home during the outbreak, says the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
Speaking during an online press briefing on Thursday, Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the NBTC, said 795,236 terabytes of data were consumed by users of Advanced Info Service (AIS), True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) and Total Access Communication (DTAC) in March, up from 715,509TB in February.
The figures were reported by the telecom operators to the NBTC, he said.
"The 11.1% increase is very high," said Mr Takorn.
AIS saw the biggest rise in data consumption at 12.3% growth, followed by True (10%) and DTAC (9.95%).
He said the NBTC expects another increase in data usage in April as the government grants mobile subscribers 10 gigabytes of data usage for free to support people working from home for 30 days.
The campaign starts from April 10.
In March, the biggest rise of data usage was seen between noon and 5pm, with a jump of 13% from February.
The lowest data consumption period was between 8-9pm, a gain of 5%.
Data consumption during weekdays rose 12%, while weekend use climbed 7%, said Mr Takorn.
He said the data usage kept rising week by week from late February when people started working from home in line with the directions given by government agencies and corporations for the pandemic.
On Tuesday, the NBTC announced a move to enable mobile users to apply for the free 10GB assistance from April 10.
Registration for the scheme ends on April 30.
Users can only receive assistance from the scheme once, regardless of how many mobile subscriptions they have. Applicants must be Thai nationals and subscriptions for juristic persons are ineligible.
A total of 3 billion baht from the NBTC's Broadcasting and Telecommunication Research Fund will be used for this assistance, which will be given to subscribers under both prepaid and post-paid systems.
Some 30 million people are expected to benefit from the scheme.
The NBTC will also help subscribers of fixed internet broadband services by upgrading their packages to speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.
This measure is expected to benefit 2 million household subscribers.