5G takes centre stage with various tech demos
Enthusiasm for the 5G wireless network is heightening with an array of related use cases, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that capitalise on the ultra-fast internet, all on display at Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019.
The event, jointly hosted by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency and the Digital Economy and Society Ministry, began yesterday and runs until Thursday at Bitec Bangna.
5G deployment is expected to start next year, with experiments building up business use cases, while full competition in 5G business is expected by 2021.
Drones, remote-controlled vehicles, robotics, smart homes, smart factories, smart farms and smart healthcare are expected to be the first tier of 5G use cases, according to analysts.
"We are fully committed to a 5G network in Thailand as it will go beyond connectivity and increase business productivity and use cases, giving consumers access to innovative public services," said Alexandra Reich, chief executive of Total Access Communications (DTAC), at the event.
She said DTAC wants to see a clear frequency roadmap, particularly regarding frequency availability, from authorities.
"Auction pricing is important as 5G network investment carries a very high cost," said Ms Reich. Some US$2.4 trillion is expected to be spent on the 5G network globally in 2020.
The telecom regulator may have to consider providing financial assistance for mobile operators or introducing an infrastructure-sharing scheme to ease the financial burden shouldered by operators, she said.
DTAC is preparing AI and digital innovation teams that would cater to business use cases for 5G services and take steps to work out the frequency auction plan.
The company plans to offer 5G Fixed Wireless Access internet service under its DTAC@Home project, competing with the fibre-optic high-speed network. The service offers a minimum speed of 15 megabits per second.
At the event, DTAC deployed the 5G-ready Virtualized Core Network (VCN). VCN is expected to increase processing capabilities and lower network latency, enabling mobile operators to innovate faster and with more accuracy.
Somchai Lertsutiwong, chief executive of Advanced Info Service (AIS), said the company is committed to providing 5G for Thais.
At the event, AIS displayed video calling across provinces through 5G networks for the first time. Remote-controlled vehicles using 5G were also demonstrated.
In collaboration with tech firm ABB, AIS also showed robots picking fruit at a supermarket and the functionality of smart industries.
True Corporation chief Suphachai Chearavanont said 5G network deployment is expected by the end of next year, making Thailand an early 5G adopter in Asean.
True is showcasing digital monitoring for cows, digital vending machines as wells as a robot for receptions.
State telecom enterprises TOT and CAT Telecom demonstrated their international internet connections with a new cable route close to Singapore and Hong Kong to serve the rise of data traffic in Asean.
CAT is in discussion with Sertis, an analytics tech firm, to provide facial recognition analytic services as part of enterprise solutions. TOT demonstrated technologies for smart homes and sensors.
Chinese tech giant Huawei demonstrated how 5G networks help transform business models in a wide range of sectors, including industry, daily life, AI services and 3D reconstruction.
Visitors can also experience manoeuvring drones brought from Qingdao, China and watch HD video filmed by the drones.
Other demonstrations at the event include the smart grid, video surveillance, augmented reality glasses and head-mounted display to play virtual reality games.
Line Thailand demonstrated IoT connections through the Line app to allow users to control lighting. A service extension on the Line platform that can help government agencies develop comprehensive services was also featured.
Phichet Rerkpreecha, chief executive of Line Thailand, said the company is still committed to Thailand as a strategic market.