As Dtac and True prepare to merge their operations in Thailand, it is clear that the new company – to be called NewCo – will need to invest in 5G if it wants to compete with AIS on a level playing field, reports Ookla.
In terms of 4G performance, AIS has a significant advantage over the competition and this advantage has been extended even further with 5G. Because Dtac lacks spectrum assets, it is not competitive in the 5G market (Dtac’s 5G performance is comparable to AIS’ 4G).
After the merger, NewCo will be Thailand’s second-largest operator. This will put Thailand’s telecom market on a more level playing field, as NewCo will be better equipped to invest in 5G and compete with AIS.
Ookla analysts say that there are a number of measures that can be taken to offset the negative impact of the merger, such as spectrum divestment, more capacity allocated to MVNOs, and converged and innovative offerings.
NewCo is expected to provide the following benefits:
- Improved 5G coverage with better network quality, reliability and speed.
- More value-driven convergence or products and services thanks to access to a wider ecosystem of partners.
- Utilization of consolidated infrastructure such as outlets to expand its outreach to deliver on Thailand 4.0 policy.
- Greater opex and capex cost efficiencies when deploying 5G networks thanks to the benefit of scale. As a result improving the quality of telecom infrastructure and customer satisfaction.
- Streamlined efficiencies will deliver better consumer experience and will enable NewCo to invest in future technologies and networks.
- Positioning Thailand as a regional technology hub.
Regardless, 5G in Thailand is advanced and even comparable to some more developed countries in the region. Ookla says Thailand is in fact quickly becoming a global leader in 5G, establishing itself as a major supplier of mobile network solutions for the region. Thailand was one of the first countries in Asia to offer commercial 5G services, with AIS and TrueMove H launching commercial 5G services in Q1 2020 shortly after the conclusion of the country’s 5G auction.
“The Thai government plays an active role in ensuring 5G can bring societal benefits, e.g., improving government services and extending healthcare access. Some of the campaigns include establishing a telemedicine center, setting up a 5G network for smart city management, developing a pilot project on digital farming in Songkhla Lake Basin, and using 5G connectivity for pandemic related measures as tourism was reopening in Phuket,” Ookla added.