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Thailand's growth future after the success of its 3G auction

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Due to current concession structure which has limited Thai operators in providing 3G, the success of the auction held earlier this week will free them up from the existing chain. The operating structure will change and they need not to have obligations in infrastructure transfer and revenue sharing with state own enterprises. Therefore, this auction literally and legally permits the operators to walk out of the existing concession agreement at no fault. That's why all 3 operators have been looking forward to this since the last attempt few years ago, when it got bogged down by TOT and CAT, which are state own enterprise.

Monsinee Keeratikrainon Ph.D., the Country Manager of Frost & Sullivan (Thailand) mentioned that, "The success of the Thailand 3G auction will boost Thailand's economy and create jobs within the ICT value chain, from application to platform, up to infrastructure services. Overall, Thailand should see around 1%-1.5% incremental increase from having 3G in the overall GDP next year."

As the ARPU (Average Price per Unit) of voice service keeps dropping, operators in Thailand have been struggling in enhancing their data revenue. With 3G, they will be able to offer more variety in the kind of services to compensate with the loss in voice and SMS revenue.

Monsinee also addressed that whilst Thailand is advancing its infrastructure, telecom has been one of the bottlenecks of the country. The success of this auction will remove the whole bottleneck and let the country move forward to its goal of having 80% broadband utilization rate after AEC in 2015. This is part of the National Broadband Master Plan. Currently there is a big gap between the plan and reality, i.e. the broadband penetration is only less than 10%. With the help of 3G, the broadband penetration can be at a much faster speed and the goal of 80% can be possibly achieved.

"At the same time, 3G will promote the growth not only amongst telecom operators, but across industry sectors, including small and medium enterprises. There will be increasing businesses of local application developers, content providers, ASPs, and cloud services since the infrastructure is ready. Also, at the downstream level, there will be more IT-driven automated processes introduced in the business environment, therefore increasing the average of rate of efficiency of the businesses in general," she said.

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Tags: 3g license  Thailand