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Thai consumers more than ready for 5G: survey

Jul 09. 2019
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By Jirapan Boonnoon
The Nation

A recent survey shows that there will be as many as 1.9 billion 5G subscribers globally in the next five years, and that in Thailand the technology will also be applied in the business world.

Wuttichai Wutti-Udomlert, head of network solutions at Ericsson Thailand, said the 5G network was laid down in South Korea earlier this year, and it is already being used in the US and most of Europe, which should encourage local mobile operators to lay down the 5G infrastructure in Thailand. 

According to a survey involving 35,000 respondents in 22 countries, including 1,500 in Thailand, Ericsson said it believes that by 2024, to 65 per cent of the global population will be using 5G and that 95 per cent of data traffic will be transmitted via 5G technology by the end of 2024. 

The survey was conducted on smartphone users aged between 15 and 69. 

The consumption of data is also expected to increase 82 per cent year on year by 2024, reaching 131 exabytes (EB) per month, while video on demand (VoD) and streaming services will account for 75 per cent of mobile data traffic. 

“We believe the 5G subscription take-up will be faster than 4G, as it will offer new provisions for various sectors such as automotive, healthcare and entertainment,” Wuttichai said. 

He said that there are 7.9 billion mobile subscribers across the world (the global population as of April 2019 stood at 7.7 billion), and around 47 per cent use the 4G-LTE network. Of the 1.54 billion subscribers in Asia-Pacific, Philippines has shown the highest growth.  

In Thailand, the survey showed that most mobile users expect 5G technology to be available in a couple of years and that half of them will be ready to switch providers within six months if their operator doesn’t offer the technology. 

Thai mobile users are also willing to pay 30 per cent more for selected 5G services, while 50 per cent of the local respondents said they are willing to pay Bt150 extra in fees. The survey also showed that consumers were looking for new 5G-ready applications and services, and will gladly pay for the privilege of using them. 

Also, some 76 per cent of Thai consumers believe they will be wearing augmented reality (AR) glasses instead of using mobile phones by 2025. Most of the Thai respondents also said that they will start watching high-definition streamed content once 5G is available. 

He added that 88 per cent of the respondents believe they will be making 3D holographic calls on a weekly basis, while 13 per cent believe hologram video calls will replace normal video calls. Some 66 per cent of the respondents believe 5G connectivity in vehicles will be as important as fuel efficiency and that smartphone users in Thailand will consume up to 130GB per month on a 5G device. 

“There is growing awareness about 5G technology globally. I think average mobile data usage with 5G devices may increase 10-fold to 70GB per month in Thailand and that 5G uptake will be faster than expected. The top three industries in Thailand that will adopt 5G to support their business will be manufacturers that utilise robotics followed by services such as smart monitoring and public safety,” Wuttichai said. 

He added that Ericsson has signed 24 commercial 5G contracts across the world.

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