Operators prep low-cost data use package

Operators prep low-cost data use package

Move to help people working from home

Mr Buddhipongse, the digital economy and society minister, left, says the assistance aims to help people grappling with the latest round of the pandemic.
Mr Buddhipongse, the digital economy and society minister, left, says the assistance aims to help people grappling with the latest round of the pandemic.

Mobile operators have agreed to roll out a low-cost monthly unlimited data usage package on tools that support people working from home, waiving data usage charges when subscribers use the contact-tracing app Mor Chana, as part of efforts to ease people's financial burden during the new outbreak.

Telecom operators are also working to upgrade fixed broadband internet speeds for subscribers without increasing prices to support people working from home.

The moves were revealed at a press conference on Monday with Buddhipongse Punnakanta, the digital economy and society minister, Trairat Viriyasirikul, acting secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), and representatives from the major mobile operators and fixed broadband provider Triple Three Broadband (3BB).

Mr Buddhipongse said the assistance is to help people grappling with the fresh outbreak, thanks to cooperation from private operators.

Mr Trairat said the mobile operators and 3BB jointly submitted these proposals meant to help people working from home during this difficult time and the NBTC agreed with them.

The assistance is to run from Jan 15 to March 15.

The low-cost monthly package of 79 baht offers 10 megabits per second of internet, a reduction from the 199-baht packages that have been offered by the mobile operators since last year.

The package is meant to help people working from home through applications Microsoft Team 365 and Zoom.

Regarding assistance for fixed internet broadband subscribers, those who use the services under old versions of traffic technology, such as xDSL network, will have internet speeds upgraded to the highest capacity without charge.

For users in more advanced fibre-optic systems, they will have internet speeds of not less than 100 megabits per second for both upload and download free of charge.

Mr Buddhipongse said the mobile operators agreed to waive all charges of data usage for Mor Chana for three months, starting from Monday.

The app can help identify individuals who have been exposed to virus patients using GPS and Bluetooth technology to track their location. Health authorities can use the app to identify individuals who have been in close contact with infected people. Mor Chana has 6 million downloads.

A mobile industry source said Mor Chana consumes around 100 megabytes per user per day, or 3 gigabytes per month since the app needs frequent information updates to track the locations of mobile users via Bluetooth and GPS.

Mr Buddhipongse said more assistance could be given if the pandemic drags on.

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