As part of the Six Country Indicators Project, Deunden presented the interim findings from the Thailand country study (over Skype). The study assesses Thailand’s telecom sector and regulatory performance. It employs the common methodology and list of indicators adopted for the Six Country study.
Deunden started off with a brief history of policy and regulatory development in Thailand and then moved on to describe the current market environment.
Since the year 1992, the beginnging of private concessions, around 3 million cellular lines were installed.
The cellular market boomed after 2002 when the third operator that was bankrupt was bought over by Hutch, and because it was a new entry, spurred competition. Over 15 million cellular subscribers entered the market at the time.
Mobile: little state presence and very competitive
Fixed line: dominant state enterprise and little competition
Internet: little state presence and very competitive.
Key performance indicators
Drastic improvements on fixed line calls from 2002 – ie less fault calls.
Mobile penetration and fixed penetration are 36.3 percent and 10.1 percent respectively (based on subscribers). Internet is at 11.9 percent (based on users).
The waiting time for a fixed line was an average period of almost 2 years in 2004.
The internet is relatively expensive – takes up almost 10 percent of total monthly expenditure. Fixed lines are the cheapest (0.92 percent).
Digital divide is remarkable for fixed line. There is a big gap between number of fixed lines in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand.
Shared access reduces the divide and mobiles close the voice divide.
Internet services are out of reach for the poor – due to lack of fixed lines.
Sample included telecom operators, private businessmen, journalists, academics, regulatory officials, and consumers.
Scores are lowest for Thailand, even in the mobile sector.
Interconnection in fixed lines has the highest score, while the lowest score is on interconnection in mobiles.