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National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission to prepare Thailand for 5G implementation by 2020

An announcement
made by the Bangkok Post highlighted the responsibility of the National
Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission
(NBTC) and the steps it
needs to take in developing the necessary telecom infrastructure for the
targeted implementation of 5G wireless systems by 2020.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said,
“I have already ordered NBTC Secretary General Takorn Tantasith to prepare for
the adoption of 5G.”

The NBTC will be responsible for Thailand’s
commitment to develop the necessary telecom infrastructure to fully adopt
fifth-generation (5G) wireless systems by 2020.

Mr Somkid explained that Thailand should
take a big leap and adopt 5G technology within two years rather than implementing
it with a step-by-step wireless system development approach because gradual
progress may be too slow.

The NBTC is tasked with the discussing with
the private sector the developments and preparation for 5G infrastructure.

Mr Somkid said, “I have already talked to
many private companies, and they have agreed that Thailand should develop this
technology.”

He added that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
is scheduled to announce standards for 5G technology development by the end of
this year or early next year.

Thailand's digital technology has made
great strides over the past three years. Mr Somkid shared that the Thai
government has invested in infrastructure for broadband internet on a nationwide
level, including submarine communications cables as part of the investment
scheme.

Infrastructures for the Internet of Things
(IoT), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been invested on by the
government as well. These will all support start-up development as well as help
in driving the economy of Thailand forward according to Mr Somkid.

He furthered that the current trade value
of e-commerce has reached US$80 billion (2.55 trillion baht). This has
increased expectations that e-commerce will take a huge leap forward once
advanced digital infrastructure is in place.

Mr Somkid said that according to NBTC data,
121 million Thais own mobile phones. 40 million of which have internet access.

He added, “The Thai economy is likely to
grow more than 5% once digital technology takes shape, especially with start-ups
and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

Mr Takorn explained, “Thailand will not
miss the 5G train, as technology will play an essential role in improving the
domestic economy, in implementing Thailand 4.0 and in uplifting quality of life.”

The NBTC is pushing the development of
telecom infrastructure necessary to fully adopt 5G by 2020, which includes implementing
NBTC's spectrum allocation roadmap for a variety of spectrum ranges.

In order to create 5G awareness in
enterprises, corporations and the general public, NBTC collaborated with local
telecom operators and global vendors through several public forums. A 5G public
forum campaign already started last year and will continue until 5G is launched
commercially in 2020.

A panel in charge of transition to 5G was
already formed last year by the NBTC according to Mr Takorn. The panel serves
as one of NBTC's main points of contact with telecom operators.

“We do not want to see Thailand move into
the 5G ecosystem too late, which is why we are facilitating all related
infrastructure, including spectrum allocation,” Mr Takorn said.

The NBTC plans to allocate a total of
380MHz of downlink and uplink slots through four spectrum ranges by 2020.

President and Country Manager of Ericsson
Thailand Ms Nadine Allen said Thai telecom operators can add up to US$2.6
billion in revenue (or 22% of their total) to their forecast in 2026, once 5G
is in place.

She added that 5G will enable the
development of an IoT ecosystem, as well as the transformation of critical
industries such as manufacturing, energy and utilities. Both IoT and 5G are
fundamental to realising the Digital Thailand vision.