Mobile broadband users to skyrocket

The number of mobile high-speed broadband users in Thailand will account for half of total mobile users by 2015 as smartphones and tablets proliferate and the 3G network expands, says the global research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Visitors flock to see the latest in Android smartphones on the first day of Thailand Mobile Expo 2012, being held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center from Jan 26-29. Prices of these and other wireless devices have plummeted. WISIT THAMNGERN

Local sales of smartphones and tablets will likely exceed personal computer sales for the first time this year, said Monsinee Keeratikrainon, the country manager of Frost & Sullivan Thailand.

Smartphone sales totalled 9 million units last year, while sales of tablets reached 600,000.

Ms Monsinee said competition in the Thai telecom market is expected to slow this year as companies focus on network expansion.

But intense competition will resume next year with new business models.

Thailand's ICT spending is projected to grow by 11-12% this year, similar to last year, fuelled by strong spending on cloud systems among small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ms Monsinee said mobile high-speed broadband users in Thailand will top 35 million by 2015, representing half of the expected total of mobile subscribers.

The number of mobile broadband users is expected to reach 30% of total mobile users this year.

Fixed-base broadband users are expected to double to 10 million by 2015. She said fixed broadband service in Thailand remains competitive compared to other countries in the region.

Nitin Bhat, a partner in Frost & Sullivan, said mobile internet users are likely to exceed fixed internet users this year.

Sales of smartphones and tablets in Thailand are expected to exceed PC sales this year.

Mr Bhat said mobile operators need to ally with companies in other industries including health care, transportation and retail in order to increase revenues.

Operators are facing declining voice revenue and expect to see negative growth for the first time this year.

Mr Bhat projects wireless data traffic volume will double every 18 months, fuelled mainly by video streaming, videoconferencing and adoption of social networking by enterprises.

He expects long-term evolution or 4G technology will take up in the Asia-Pacific including Thailand in a few years.

About the author

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Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter