4G to drive Thai market in 2016, says Capacity Asia panel

30 November 2015 |

2016 is set to be a pivotal year for Thailand’s telecoms market following completion of the country’s 4G auction in November, said the opening panel at Capacity Asia 2015 in Bangkok.

Following heavy delays due to a military coup in 2014, the nation’s 4G auction attracted bids of over $2.17 billion (77.99 billion baht) for licences in the 1800MHz spectrum, hugely surpassing expectations. The two highest bids from AIS and True Move were said to be 158% and 150% over the reserve price.

The panel saw this as a positive sign for the Thai telecoms market, and a platform for it to build into a major player in the Asia-Pacific region.

“2016 is going to be a big year for Thailand as we have the arrival of 4G. I foresee Thailand growing into a big player in the region. We started slowly, but now everything is becoming ready,” said Dr. Abhisak Chulya, CEO, Nipa Technology.

“We got double than we thought which is a great sign. That number is right up there pricing wise with other countries in the world.”

A second auction for 900MHz spectrum is due on December 15, which is also expected to be fiercely competitive. AIS, Telenor’s dtac and newcomer Jasmine International are said to be interested in the spectrum.

The panel also focussed on how this will bring greater competition to the market and make profit margins harder for existing operators. “The newcomer needs to get more customers. The only way to do that is a pricing war,” said Chulya.

Moderated by Vinay Ahuja, senior regional adviser, head of TMT division at DFDL, the panel also included Ubonpan Cheunchom, VP of carrier business at CAT Telecom, and Dr Rungkiet Kamondetdacha, GM, True International Gateway.