Interest in 5G wireless network technology has been on the rise in Thailand and around the world recently. This is a result of the array of related-use cases, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that capitalise on the ultra-fast internet – technologies that were all on display at Digital Thailand Big Bang 2019.
The event was jointly hosted by the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) and the Digital Economy and Society Ministry.
5G network deployment in Thailand is expected to start next year, with experiments building up business use cases, while full competition in 5G business is expected by 2021.
Drones, remote-controlled vehicles, robotics, smart homes, smart factories, smart farms and smart healthcare are expected to be the first tier of 5G use cases, according to analysts.
Industry players have confirmed their full commitment to a 5G network in Thailand as it will go beyond connectivity and increase business productivity and use cases, giving consumers access to innovative public services.
The aim is to develop a clear frequency roadmap, particularly regarding frequency availability, from authorities, the Chief Executive of a major mobile phone operator company noted.
Auction pricing is important as 5G network investment carries a very high cost. Some US$2.4 trillion is expected to be spent on the 5G network globally in 2020.
The telecom regulator may have to consider providing financial assistance for mobile operators or introducing an infrastructure-sharing scheme to ease the financial burden shouldered by operators, she said.
The operator is preparing AI and digital innovation teams that would cater to business use cases for 5G services and take steps to work out the frequency auction plan. It plans to offer 5G Fixed Wireless Access internet service under its DTAC@Home project, competing with the fibre-optic high-speed network. The service offers a minimum speed of 15 megabits per second.
At the event, the firm deployed the 5G-ready Virtualized Core Network (VCN). VCN is expected to increase processing capabilities and lower network latency, enabling mobile operators to innovate faster and with more accuracy.
The Chief Executive of another Thai mobile phone operator company said that the company is committed to providing 5G for Thais. The firm displayed video calling across provinces through 5G networks for the first time. Remote-controlled vehicles using 5G were also demonstrated.
In collaboration with a tech firm, the mobile operator also showed robots picking fruit at a supermarket and the functionality of smart industries.
5G network deployment is expected by the end of next year, making Thailand an early 5G adopter in ASEAN.
One of the leading communications conglomerates in Thailand is showcasing digital monitoring for cows, digital vending machines as wells as a robot for receptions.
Two state telecom enterprises, TOT and CAT Telecom, demonstrated their international internet connections with a new cable route close to Singapore and Hong Kong to serve the rise of data traffic in ASEAN.
CAT is in discussion with an analytics tech firm to provide facial recognition analytic services as part of enterprise solutions. TOT demonstrated technologies for smart homes and sensors.
A Chinese tech giant demonstrated how 5G networks help transform business models in a wide range of sectors, including industry, daily life, AI services and 3D reconstruction.
Visitors could also experience manoeuvring drones brought from Qingdao, China and watch HD video filmed by the drones.
Other demonstrations at the event include the smart grid, video surveillance, augmented reality glasses and head-mounted display to play virtual reality games.
IoT connections were demonstrated by another tech firm through its app which allows users to control lighting. A service extension on the Line platform that can help government agencies develop comprehensive services was also featured.
In this way, through events and exhibitions, the public has a better understanding of 5G technology and the benefits of its implementation.
Moreover, private and public players have the opportunity to meet and discuss collaborations the develop better technologies that can improve the lives of Thai citizens as well as grow the nation’s digital economy.