10GB perk attracts over 3m applicants
More than 3 million mobile users applied for 10 free gigabytes of data on Friday, the first day the telecom regulator offered the handout as part of public assistance measures during the pandemic.
Some 3.03 million applications had been lodged as of 4.23pm yesterday. The application period started at 8am.
Of them, 2.01 million or 66.2% are prepaid subscribers and the rest are in the postpaid system.
Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said the number of applications suggests mobile users are aware of the scheme, open for application until April 30, adding there is no rush to apply.
Some 30 million mobile users are expected to benefit from the scheme.
"The first day should see the most applications as many people are waiting for the assistance," Mr Takorn said.
All 3.03 million subscribers received an SMS reply from their mobile operator and there were no complaints about the application process, he said.
Meanwhile, Total Access Communi- cation (DTAC), the country's third-largest mobile operator, said about 500,000 subscribers of its services had applied for the 10GB free internet assistance as of noon on Friday.
Prathet Tankuranun, chief technology officer of DTAC, said that in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, customers who have to stay at home need mobile services more than ever to stay connected.
"DTAC is boosting our network capacity in high-traffic areas all over Thailand through the deployment of 4G Massive MIMO, which brings a three-fold increase in spectrum efficiency," Mr Prathet said. "We're confident we can continue providing a smooth network experience as the 10GB offer kicks in."
According to DTAC, from February to March, more than 75% of internet usage was spent on social media and streaming apps and grew by 9% and 6%, respectively, compared with February.
Data usage in March rose rapidly, particularly in provinces where borders are closed. Narathiwat had the highest growth of 45%, then Bueng Kan (42%), Nan (36%), Trang (36%) and Pattani (35%).
The company expects a further jump in data usage after the 10GB assistance.