PM touts digital hub at summit
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PM touts digital hub at summit

Envisages nation as Asean's 5G centre

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks at the Thailand 5G Summit 2022 at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld on Thursday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks at the Thailand 5G Summit 2022 at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld on Thursday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Declaring Thailand as Asean's Digital Hub would be a great opportunity to showcase advances in Thai 5G technology on a regional level, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday.

Digital technology can play a key role in the nation's development and competitiveness, said Gen Prayut, who also serves as Minister of Defence.

He made the remarks after presiding over the opening ceremony of the Thailand 5G Summit 2022 under the theme "The 5G Leader in the Region".

The event was co-hosted by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), along with partners from the private sector such as Huawei Technologies (Thailand) and the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) APAC 5G Industry Community.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn gives a welcome speech.

"The Thailand 5G Summit 2022 will be the starting point for domestic and international collaboration. It also showcases the telecommunication infrastructure that supports 5G technology in Thailand, which contributes to the development of digital startups and a digital workforce," Gen Prayut said.

"This framework also encourages new product and services development based on 5G infrastructure, and promotes usage and a digital industry ecosystem from infrastructure deployment.

"Additionally, it also promotes collaboration between the public and private sector, through companies such as Huawei, to drive Thailand's 5G technology development in every industry and elevate Thailand's competitive advantages towards the Thailand 4.0 era."

The PM said the government has long championed the wider use of digital technology.

"Every morning when the journalists see my face, they know how I feel. They are faster at picking up my feelings than even the 5G technology. I've tried to do my best.''

"If I were a computer, I would have gone kaput. I've had to endure many problems. What has kept me going is cooperation from everyone. I can't do it alone. Everyone has to lend a hand.

"The government is trying to fix problems. We can't work only to satisfy but to make sure it is the right thing to do. After all, the world is now in an age of [widespread] democracy," Gen Prayut said.

Simon Lin, president of Huawei’s Asia Pacific Region, talks about how Thailand leads Asean in 5G.

"The question is how we can apply this 5G technology to Thailand's development and how to make this kind of technology reach all levels, including the grassroots?

"We are facing three obstacles: trade barriers, the pandemic and regional conflicts. How are we going to use the technology to ensure we can get through this tough situation?" he asked.

The government has assigned the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) to lay down the policy framework and action plans to promote applications of 5G technology and manage the telecommunication infrastructure that supports 5G technology, he said.

He said the technology could be applicable in the agricultural sector such as Pha Mhee Hill in Chiang Rai where they have adopted 5G in plantations, a demonstration farm and crop data collection.

It could help farmers grow crops more efficiently, he said.

"I would like to emphasise that everything in Thailand progresses not just because of one person or the government but when everyone in society unites to realise it," he said.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn has thrown his support behind a 5G technology alliance, which was unveiled on Thursday, saying the partnership would be a driver for greater 5G use in the country.

The alliance draws together telecom operators, vendors and corporate users.

So far, the alliance has 260 companies in its network and the minister said more could be drawn into this partnership.

Mr Chaiwut said the alliance will play a key role in driving 5G applications in the industrial sector, which could level up the country's economic value such as by reaching out to smart agriculture, health tech, manufacturing, education and logistics.

He said 5G tech is a core infrastructure component that can bolster the country's economic and social transformation.

Simon Lin, president of Huawei Asia Pacific, outlined the regional 5G development.

"The global 5G rollout is progressing quickly, and the 5G pioneers in the Asia-Pacific region have crossed the 16% chasm into the golden age.

"In this transformative process, 5G has become a key enabler for enriching people's lives, accelerating industry digitalisation and expanding economic scope."

"Huawei has always considered the Asia-Pacific as our strategic market, and we are committed to becoming the key contributor to the digital economy in the region. Towards this goal, 5G connectivity plays a crucial role."

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