By Sirivish Toomgum
Executives of the country's leading telecom operator expounded on the mission at a company event last Friday to unveil its vision for 2019 and its readiness to be a provider of digital platforms in helping drive the country forward.
It will continue to focus on leveraging advanced technologies to create more digital platforms for its partners in both the private and public sectors to enhance their competitiveness.
Kan Trakulhoon, AIS chairman of the board, said at the event that Thailand would see a new chapter in industrial transformation this year with the wider useage of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Robotics, Data Analytic and Internet of Things (IoT).
These technologies have brought in a new industrial era that redefines lifestyles and work, disrupts economic and social models, as well as creating new opportunities for enterprises and the national economy, he added.
AIS president Hui Weng Cheong said AIS has already adopted AI, Machine Learning and Robotics in its customer services.
Somchai Lertsutiwong, chief executive officer said the cellular operator would embark on the development of 5G wireless broadband service but commencement of its commercial service depends on several factors and the right time.
Among the factors to be considered are whether there is a real need for 5G service in business and the availability of sufficient spectrum bandwidth.
Somchai said Thailand should not rush into commercial 5G service, given it is still an unclear use case as far as business is concerned, adding that the right time should be in the next two to three years.
Thailand must not act out of concerns that it would miss the boat, he warned.
“But this does not mean that AIS will not adopt the 5G technology. We need to study it, test it, and closely follow the global trend in order to provide an efficient service at the right time," said the company's CEO.
AIS has already teamed up with partners from various sectors in testing the 5G technology with permission from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
AIS president Hui said: “We are preparing for the 5G technology. Although the case for business remains unclear, we firmly believe that it will boost the capability and development of many industrial sectors through three key features: higher speed, higher capacity for IoT connections, and fastest and most stable networks”.
The NBTC plans to auction off the 700MHz spectrum this year for the new service. It has already finished the first draft of the licensing rules and conditions.
Somchai said AIS will have to consider the final licensing terms and conditions as well as other key factors before making a final decision on bidding for the band.
AIS is Thailand’s largest cellular operator in term of subscription base, with a total of over 40 million mobile subscribers as of the third quarter last year.