October 21, 2009
Thailand will be one of the last countries in the Asia-Pacific region to get 3G. For years political instability has postponed 3G spectrum auctions, currently to 2010. This time, however, the regulator does seem more determined than ever to get it done.
And Thailand matters. It is the ninth largest telecom market in Asia-Pacific: we expect it to generate service revenue worth US$8.1bn in 2009, as shown in our Q3 2009 Pyramid Research Thailand Mobile Demand Forecast. We believe the Thai market will grow at a CAGR of 5.5% over the next five years, and mobile penetration, which stood at just 46% in 2005, will reach 100% by the end of this year.
While most operators are eager to win one of the four licenses to be auctioned in December, government-owned operators TOT and CAT seem determined to spoil the party. Considering that the two receive 25-30% of revenues earned on 2G services by private operators, it is hardly difficult to understand why. They simply fear that their source of easy money will dry up as subscribers migrate from 2G to 3G services. In our Forecast, we predict that about 45% of Thais will do so by 2014 (for more, also see the September edition of our Thailand Country Intelligence Report).
Subscriptions by technology generation, 2008-2014
Source: Pyramid Research Mobile Demand Forecasts, Q3 2009
While one can understand TOT’s and CAT’s argument that spectrum is a national resource and hence should benefit all Thais, we mustn’t forget the accomplishments and services provided by the foreign-controlled private operators (AIS, DTAC) as a result of fierce market competition. In comparison, the government-owned enterprises represent what could have been if national sovereignty were the only issue to consider. We believe the 3G auctions will go through this time, with any luck before the end of 2009, although early 2010 also is possible. But we also believe that the auction is less likely to follow a win-all, lose-all scenario. With so much political influence at work both in front of and behind the curtains, private and government-owned operators will in the next couple of months likely find a middle ground where private operators get their wish – to provide 3G services – and TOT and CAT take home a consolation prize to help sustain their revenue streams.
— Tae-Hyung Kim, Senior Analyst
Asia-Pacific Mobile Demand Forecast
Forecasts published quarterly
Our Mobile Demand Forecast products provide complete pictures of demand trends for 15 geographical markets in Asia Pacific. The Excel output includes five years of historical data and five years of market projections for metrics such as GDP, mobile penetration, subscriptions (by operator, type of package, technology), ARPS and total mobile service revenue (data and voice). The Forecasts are based on extensive field research and use a consistent methodology across all markets, aiming to capture the total spending, from an end-user perspective, on mobile communication services in each market.
Thailand: Political Woes Stunt 3G Development
Country Intelligence Report published September 2009
The Thai telecom market generated $8.1bn in service revenue in 2008 but will contract by 1% in 2009. Pyramid Research expects growth to resume in 2010, with roughly half a billion dollars being added to the telecom market each year. The main growth engines will be fixed and mobile broadband services. The regulator has yet to issue 3G or WiMAX licenses, but both fixed and mobile operators are preparing to meet broadband demand. This Country Intelligence Report analyzes Thailand’s communications, media and technology industries, including key trends, regulatory pressures and the competitive landscape, making it an excellent complement to our Forecast products.
Mobile Gaming in Emerging Markets: Five-Year Forecast and Impact Analysis
Research Report published July 2009
Mobile gaming is enjoying solid growth, from about 55m gamers in 2005 to about 183m in 2008. Besides technological improvement and business-level innovation — the iPhone App Store is revolutionizing the industry — mobile adoption also spurs growth. Emerging markets contribute heavily. This report analyzes mobile videogaming markets in emerging economies, examining mobile gaming-specific metrics, market enablers, adoption barriers, trends and opportunities. It forecasts market growth and looks at interesting business models and initiatives. Included are in-depth country profiles of eight emerging markets: Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russia and South Africa. Watch video highlights from the report.
LTE’s Five-Year Global Forecast: Poised to Grow Faster than 3G
Telecom Insider published May 2009
It took nearly six years for UMTS/HSPA to reach 100m subscriptions, but we estimate LTE will take just over four years to reach the same milestone. The number of LTE subscriptions worldwide will grow at a CAGR of 404% from 2010 to 2014 and reach 136m subscriptions by year-end 2014. This Telecom Insider identifies the main technical and business drivers as well as the challenges for the LTE platform and analyzes its market opportunity in comparison with earlier mobile technologies in their first few years of commercialization. The report provides Pyramid Research’s five-year outlook on LTE adoption and examines six of the largest vendors worldwide.