The Nation

INTERNET USE

Twenty million Thais online next year

Internet-service market to reach Bt40bn - ISP Assn

The number of Internet users in Thailand is expected to reach 20 million next year, and the value of the Internet-service market is forecast to rise to Bt40 billion. According to the former President of the Thai Internet Service Providers' Association, Morragot Kulatumyotin, the size of Thailand's Internet-service market reached Bt33.5 billion last year. About 70 per cent of this, or Bt22.6 billion, came from households and small or home offices. The remaining 30 per cent, amounting to Bt10.9 billion, came from organisations. This year, there are about 16 million Internet users in the country and about 2.67 million households access the Internet via Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL). TOT is the leading Internet service provider (ISP), with a market share of about 40 per cent of ADSL services to households around the country. True and 3BB each hold 30 per cent of the country's ADSL market. Morragot said Internet-service fees had remained fairly static, but speed had lately been increased by as much as 50 per cent, encouraging greater Internet use. "I think the Internet-service market in Thailand is continuing to grow, especially in the domestic "backbone" of Internet use, where ISPs are providing services at affordable prices from high-speed networks. Thailand's ISPs also have an 18-gigabit-per-second international Internet gateway in order to access the Internet from international hosts," she said.Commenting on the affordability of Internet-service fees, Morragot said that small ISPs needed to adjust themselves and provide new services, such as Internet data centres, application services and customised service packages. These services should be suitable for niche markets, in order that these small ISPs could survive. There are currently about 150 ISPs in Thailand, but only about 15 active ISPs. Morragot said the size of Thailand's Internet market was expected to grow by about 20 per cent this year, compared with 2010, making its value about Bt40 billion, with about 20 million Internet users. The factors that will drive Internet-market growth include the continued rise of mobile and smart phones and the growing reach of ADSL. Smart-phone users will increasingly access the Internet and mobile Internet and the ADSL-market size is sure to grow because there are currently 7 million ADSL number users, but only 2.67 million ADSL household numbers."I think that the size of the smart-phone market next year will be crucial to the size of the overall Internet market, because about 13 per cent of smart-phone users are expected to access the Internet to reach data-communication services or non-voice services from network providers and 3G networks. This will enable businesses to develop and provide mobile applications to support user demand, and this will be an important driver for the market next year," Morragot said.


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