Increased data usage fueled growth in Thailand’s mobile industry in the first half of 2017, according to the National Economic and Social Development Board. Pricing competition in the sector dropped, and overall Thailand’s economy increased by the fastest rate in four years.
Thailand’s GDP rose 3.7 percent year-on-year in Q2 2017 after annual growth of 3.3 percent reported in Q1.
The country’s three leading mobile operators – AIS, True Move and Telenor-owned dtac – saw service revenue increase 8 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year, according to a report by Bangkok Post. In addition, non-voice revenue generated around 68 percent of the operators’ service revenue in Q2.
“It seems the telecoms business is on the up-and-up after reaching bottom last year,” CIMB analyst told Bangkok Post, reflecting on how Thai telecom operators have pulled back their aggressive marketing campaigns.
AIS’ second quarter revenue increased 21 percent year-on-year to THB 18.7 billion ($562 million), the Bangkok Post report said, representing 63 percent of its total revenue. True’s data revenue increased 25 percent to THB 10.4 billion, while dtac’s data revenue grew the most at 27 percent to THB 11 billion, representing 66 percent and 74 percent of total revenue, respectively.
The operators all posted increases in service revenue in Q1 this year, Bangkok Post said. In the lead was True with 17 percent growth, ahead of AIS with 6.6 percent and dtac with 2.3 percent. In terms of voice revenue, dtac and AIS both experienced year-on-year declines, while True posted a 2.6 percent increase.
Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited, commonly referred to as AIS, is Thailand's largest GSM mobile phone operator with 39.87 million customers as of Q3 2016. For a long time True ranked third behind dtac, but in the opening quarter of 2017, True boosted its market share to 26.5 percent, placing it just ahead of dtac’s 26.2 percent share. True maintained its lead over dtac in Q2, according to GSMA Intelligence.