A recent survey of 35,000 people around the world reportedly shows that there will be as many as 1.9 billion 5G subscribers globally in the next five years. Moreover, in Thailand, the technology will also be applied in the business world.
The survey was conducted on smartphone users aged between 15 and 69 by a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company. It was noted that 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.
The study surveyed 35,000 respondents across 22 countries, including 1,500 from Thailand; it was noted that by 2024, 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.
It was noted 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% use the 4G-LTE network. Of the 1.54 billion subscribers in Asia-Pacific, Philippines has shown the highest growth.
The survey showed that in Thailand 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 say they are willing to pay 30% more for 5G services, while 50% of the local respondents said they are willing to pay 150 baht extra in fees per month. 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.
88 per cent of the respondents believes 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 a growing awareness of 5G technology globally. It was estimated that 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.
5G initiatives being deployed in Thailand
A news report from June 2019 Thailand’s Ministry of a Digital Economy and Society (DE) signed an agreement on 5G use-case testing with 40 alliances from the public and private sectors. The testing centre will take place at the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
At Kasetsart University, Sri Racha Campus, in Sri Racha district, Chon Buri province, the DE Minister, the agreement was signed. The agreement focuses on 5G use-case testing with 40 alliances from the public and private sectors.
The testing centre, called 5G Testbed@Sriracha, is located in the premises of Kasetsart University, Sri Racha Campus, which is in the EEC. Facilities have been prepared to support digital investment in the EEC.
The DE Ministry and Kasetsart University, Sri Racha Campus, have been developing 5G infrastructure since the beginning of February 2019. The ministry and its alliances will conduct Thailand’s first ever 5G use-case testing, both indoors and outdoors.
The public and private sectors will promote and support the use of 5G at the 5G Test-bed to make sure that the technology can be used successfully in the EEC. The move is in line with the DE Ministry’s role in promoting Thailand as the 5G technology development centre of the region.