Ericsson predicts 5G reaching 50% of subscriptions by 2025
published : 21 Mar 2023 at 10:04
newspaper section: Business
writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Fifth Generation (5G) subscriber numbers in Thailand are projected to reach 50% of total mobile subscriptions by 2025 thanks to monetisation models and more affordable smartphones, says Swedish networking and tech firm Ericsson.
"We foresee healthy adoption of 5G subscriptions in Thailand, even in a challenging environment," Igor Maurell, head of Ericsson Thailand, told the Bangkok Post.
5G devices are on the market and network coverage spanned 78% of the population last year.
A recent report by Ericsson's Consumer Lab found that despite the rising inflation rate, 46% of Thai users still intend to upgrade to 5G in the next 12 months.
Half of the respondents already have a 5G mobile phone.
In fact, 66% of Thai consumers consider innovative 5G experiences like cloud gaming and 5G TV to be very important to their mobile broadband plans, noted the report.
Mr Maurell said revenue growth in the top 20 5G markets was initially driven by mobile broadband and the rise of fixed wireless access.
Emerging 5G services include private networks and cloud gaming, he said.
For enterprise users, 5G will open up a US$3.4 billion opportunity for service operators in Thailand across sectors from manufacturing and automotive to healthcare, said Mr Maurell.
5G devices are becoming more affordable in many countries, he said. For example, India is rolling out 5G quickly and developing an ecosystem of devices that is going to be very affordable, said Mr Maurell.
Thailand needs to be more innovative and differentiate services for specific events and applications, he said. For example, SingTel in Singapore created extra packages during a Formula One event, allowing users to access all camera angles to have an experience similar to those who paid for premium tickets.
Some countries use video surveillance with 5G and artificial intelligence to read licence plates to identify stolen vehicles.
"Various operators offer free 5G trial services that stimulate user demand to upgrade as they experience different services and speeds," said Mr Maurell.
5G that supports real-time high-resolution video can help broadcasters mobilise their activities with smaller teams and less equipment, he said.
Mobile operators can offer a 5G private network system for enterprises to serve specific use cases, including employee meeting applications and secured banking applications.
Instead of relying on one ecosystem of digital infrastructure, diversification of network infrastructure is important to provide choices and balance the influence of technology vendors in Europe, North America and China, said Mr Maurell.
"Thailand needs to offer choices to investors and to consumers," he said.
The country also needs a 3.5-gigahertz band to support skyrocketing mobile data consumption and reduce the cost per gigabyte, said Mr Maurell.
According to the report, global mobile data is forecast to see quadruple growth by 2028. Ericsson's 5G portfolio can significantly lower cost and energy per delivered gigabyte, he said.
Mr Maurell said around 50% of 5G traffic outside China runs on Ericsson networks. R&D investments over the past four years have seen Ericsson increase market share outside China to 39% in 2022, up from 33% in 2017.
He also predicts satellite communication services on smartphones as complementary to mobile networks in remote unconnected areas.
Ericsson and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an innovation lab in Thailand Digital Valley in Chon Buri province that will serve as a 5G testbed and service centre for trials of new wireless and network technologies and spectrum-sharing, as well as new applications and services.
Mr Maurell said Ericsson aims to join with partners in many areas, such as industrial robotics, automated guided vehicles and video surveillance to develop or provide innovative applications.
Ericsson is collaborating with King Mongkut University of Technology Thonburi to educate local students on 5G technology.