Clearer vision sought for broadband [Bangkok Post, Thailand :: ]
(Bangkok Post (Thailand) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 09--Policymakers must outline Thailand's spectrum roadmap for efficient frequency use in the next 5-10 years and bring affordable mobile broadband to all, says Ericsson, a Swedish maker of telecom networks.
"A clear roadmap will help network and terminal suppliers and mobile operators prepare technology deployment to cope with huge mobile data growth," said Bunyati Kirdniyom, head of regulatory affairs at Ericsson Thailand.
Providing more spectrum to mobile operators and making better use of it would bring down service fees for consumers.
According to a report by GSM Intelligence, Asia-Pacific has low spectrum use of just 16% of available spectrum compared with 70% in Europe.
"Singapore and Malaysia have multiple frequency spectra for 3G and 4G that make mobile broadband fees lower than in Thailand," Mr Bunyati said.
Asia-Pacific will play an important role in the rise of mobile subscriptions and data volume.
Ericsson forecasts 5% compound growth in global mobile subscriptions during 2013-19, reaching 9.2 billion subscriptions (with 4.7 billion in Asia-Pacific).
The first quarter of 2014 saw 120 million new mobile subscriptions worldwide, and the top five countries were Asian: India (28 million subscriptions), China (19 million), Indonesia (7 million), Thailand (6 million) and Bangladesh (4 million).
Asia-Pacific is tipped to have the most mobile data growth of any region during 2013-19, rising by a factor of 12.
The growth will mainly come from video applications, with video making up more than 50% of mobile data traffic by 2019.
Moreover, fancier smartphone specifications such as higher resolutions and larger displays will consume more data bandwidth.
In Southeast Asia and Oceania, mobile data traffic will grow by more than 10 times in the next five years, reaching two exabytes per user per month.
The 10-24 age group is driving mobile data growth in Thailand, where young people constitute 22% or 15.2 million of the population.
To meet demand for mobile data in Southeast Asia and Oceania, 4G coverage will rise to 60% of the population in 2019 from 15% in 2013, while 3G coverage will increase to 90% in 2019 from 75% last year.
Mobile subscriptions are to reach 1.2 billion in the region by 2019, up from 900 million in 2013.
Mr Bunyati said Thailand had about 55 million 3G users in the first quarter and is expected to reach 60 million by year-end, out of 90 million overall mobile subscriptions.
The number of 4G users in the country is hard to forecast, as there is no specific time frame for when the delayed 4G spectrum auctions will take place.
An Ericsson survey found 37% of Thais agreeing that mobile data tariffs are still quite expensive.
Mr Bunyati suggested the telecom regulator use app coverage instead of population coverage as a measure of the network.
App coverage will let users ascertain the speed of the network in their location and its suitability for voice calls, music streaming and video service.
(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)
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