The number of smartphone users who will adopt 5G in Thailand is expected to exceed 5 million by the end of this year, driven by people's intention to use an ultra-fast mobile broadband network, according to Swedish telecom giant Ericsson.
Thailand is also in the top 10 in the world in terms of the rise in 5G subscriptions, said the company.
Global 5G mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to exceed 580 million by the end of this year, with an estimated 1 million new 5G mobile subscriptions recorded every day.
The prediction was reported in the 20th edition of the recently released 'Ericsson Mobility Report'.
Southeast Asia and Oceania are expected to see the highest growth in average monthly usage per smartphone by 2026, compared to other regions.
The total number of 5G subscriptions in Southeast Asia and Oceania are projected to hit 400 million by 2026.
"Thailand, which is at the forefront for 5G deployment in the region, is in a good position to develop its wireless ecosystem for Industry 4.0," said Nadine Allen, head of Ericsson Thailand.
Ms Allen said 5G technology will be a boon for consumer experience and digitalisation among various industries, such as manufacturing, energy and healthcare.
According to her, 58% of people surveyed in Thailand expressed an interest in taking up 5G while 38% said they are most likely to do so within this year. Young parents, people with strong purchasing power and those living in metro areas will most likely be the first adopters.
In Thailand, there was a 27% increase in time spent working remotely in December 2020, compared to prior to the pandemic.
White-collar workers on average work nearly half of all hours from home or around 12.1 days out of 21 workdays per month. This was an increase of 35% compared to before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, blue-collar workers have also increased their time working from home by 16% but this equates to less than 51% of total working hours remotely.
According to the report, 75% of 5G adopters in Thailand said they were very satisfied with 5G mobile data speeds and 38% said they expected more innovative services to be offered.
Consumers have said they are willing to pay 50% more for 5G plans bundled with digital services if high impact business-ready use cases are commercialised.
Regarding 5G adoption, 57% of respondents in Thailand said they have started streaming HD video or increased their usage. Some 13% said they have started using augmented reality (AR) applications while 17% have taken to cloud gaming on their smartphones following 5G adoption.
The report said people across all age groups in Thailand have increased the total time they spend online by around one hour per day, compared with before the pandemic.
Some 70% of the time spent online happens on smartphones.
According to the report, services such as 5G TV, bundled with fixed wireless access, high-speed cloud, hi-fi music, transactable AR, in-venue and remote immersive experiences for sports and concerts are likely to persuade consumers to upgrade to 5G plans.
The use of 5G in Thailand will also drive changes in user behaviour and start to displace Wi-Fi.
Some 14% of 5G users on average claim they have reduced Wi-Fi usage at home and in other locations in the country.