The Nation



Telecom to grow 8.3% next year, ICT 4.3%: study

The country's market for information and communications technology is expected to grow by 4.3 per cent next year, while the telecom market expands by 8.3 per cent. Mobile Internet and social media will be the key factors driving this growth, a study says.

According to an annual study by the National Science and Technology Development Agency and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission, the ICT hardware market next year will grow by 4.3 per cent to Bt91 billion, while the telecommunication market jumps by 8.3 per cent to nearly Bt506 billion.

Jumrad Sawangsamud, an adviser for the study, said there was heavy growth in the number of mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets, driven by the expansion of third-generation cellular service. The mobile Internet market is expected to grow by 26.4 per cent from Bt11.57 billion this year to Bt14.6 billion in 2014. The smartphone market itself should grow by 32.5 per cent to Bt61 billion, compared with this year's growth of 24.2 per cent.

"In 2014, data traffic will accelerate the overall communication market. Thailand's key markets in 2014 will be dominated by smartphones, mobile Internet, and data usage," Jumrad said.

In the communication market, service accounts for about 64 per cent of value while equipment is only 37 per cent. However, the mobile voice market is expected to reduce gradually from Bt127.43 billion in 2013 to Bt123.5 billion in 2014, a drop of 3.1 per cent. Non-voice service is expected to continue to grow by 35.2 per cent from this year's Bt60.90 billion to Bt82 billion in 2014.

Jumrad said that next year the overall computer-hardware market was expected to grow by 4.3 per cent. The growth will be driven by new technologies as well as market demand as the economy improves. The National Economic and Social Development Board has forecast that gross domestic product will grow by 3-4 per cent in 2014. "The political situation will be the key factor for the growth of the computer-hardware market next year. If the election cannot happen, it will affect the ICT market as a whole, especially computer hardware, which might see zero growth."

It appears that tablet computers will be the rising products next year, with sales rising to 2.52 million units or 25.8 per cent from the 2 million units in 2013. However, their average price is expected to be lower, dropping from Bt8,500 to Bt7,500.

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