Thailand’s Mobile Duopoly Market Q3 2023
- November 13, 2023
- Posted by: Allan Rasmussen
- Category: Insights
Thailand’s Mobile Market as of Q3 2023 shows a duopoly market in desperate need of competition.
Q3 2023 saw the merger of TRUE/DTAC increase its market share while AIS continued to lose subscribers. The duopoly has the same pricing and plans on 6 out of their 10 plans and data allowance on several plans has decreased.
TRUE gained +254.000 compared to last quarter (QoQ) but lost -2.756.000 compared to the same quarter last year (YoY)
AIS lost -866.500 QoQ and -1.212.000 YoY.
Image: Thailand’s Mobile Duopoly (TRUE and AIS) – Mobile Subscribers Q3 2022 – Q3 2023.
Thailand’s Mobile Service Duopoly Market - Q3 2023
Total subscribers/connections in Thailand as of Q3 2023 was 97.358.700
Population 61.7 million, giving a mobile penetration of 147%
AIS’ market share dropped slightly to 46.65% of the total connections in the market while TRUE increased its market share to more than half the market with 52.77%
The state enterprise telco, National Telecom (NT) dropped to around 1.5 million connections while the four MVNOs dropped to approximately 30.000.
The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) is a common measure of market concentration and is used to determine market competitiveness.
A market with an HHI of less than 1,500 is considered to be a competitive marketplace, an HHI of 1,500 to 2,500 to be a moderately concentrated marketplace, and an HHI of 2,500 or greater to be a highly concentrated marketplace.
The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) in the Thai mobile market was 3.420 before the TRUE/DTAC merger – showing a highly concentrated market lacking competition. The HHI increased in Q3 2023 to 4.962 showing a duopoly market in desperate need of competition.
Image: Thailand’s Mobile Duopoly Market Q3 2023.
AIS Mobile Subscribers Q3 2020 – Q3 2023
AIS subscriber numbers has seen a downward trend in every quarter since the TRUE/DTAC merger in Q1 2023.
At both its Q2 and Q3 result presentation, AIS executives said the strategy was to focus on value customers and not compete for low-end, low-price prepaid customers.
Image: AIS Mobile Subscribers Q3 2020 – Q3 2023.
TRUE DTAC - Postpaid Pricing Pre-Merger Q4 2022 vs. Post Merger Q3 2023
TRUE and DTAC removed two of the low-priced packages in the market after their merger.
They raised the prices on three of the packages:
TRUE raised the price on its 1,399 baht package to 1,499 but also raised the voice call minutes from 450 to 650 minutes.
DTAC raised the 349 baht package with 20GB data and 100 voice minutes to 399 baht.
DTAC also raised the 1,099 baht package with “unlimited” data and 200 minutes voice call to 1,199 baht although they also increased the voice call minutes to 350 minutes.
In addition they decreased the data or voice call minutes on the following packages:
- TRUE dropped the data from 80GB to only 40GB and voice minutes from 300 to 250 minutes on its 499 baht packages.
- On its 599 baht package they also dropped the data, from 100GB to 50GB and voice from 300 to 250 minutes.
- On its 699 baht package they dropped the data from 120GB to 60GB and on the 899 baht package they dropped the data from 160GB to 80GB but increased the voice call from 200 to 300 minutes.
- On the 1.499, 1,699, 1,999 and 2,199 packages they increased the voice call minutes.
- DTAC decreased the voice minutes on its 499 and 599 packages from 300 minutes to 250 minutes.
- On the 699 and 899 packages they decreased the data from 80GB and 100GB to 60GB and 80GB but increased the voice calling minutes from 80 and 100 to 300 minutes.
- They increased the voice minutes on the high-end packages 1,199, 1,499, and 1,999 but decreased it on the 2,199 package from “unlimited” to 1,700 minutes.
Giving extra voice minutes is a no-brainer as the two companies are now merged and as such, it is no longer customers of two different operators calling each other but one network (On-Net).
One of the conditions for the merger was the reduction of the average price by 12% which was supposed to have taken place maximum 90 days from the merger (May 30, 2023) still hasn’t been integrated, along with other measures such as launch of MVNOs on the networks of TRUE/DTAC.
The national telecom regulator (NTBC) responded to consumers and consumers associations’ complaint about the change in pricing and service by saying such claims have to be based on facts and evidence – not “feelings” and these facts are very difficult to obtain and calculate – interestingly, the source for the pricing and package is from the very same telecom regulator (NBTC). Perhaps it is very difficult for them to navigate their own website.
Image: TRUE DTAC – Postpaid Pricing Pre-Merger Q4 2022 vs. Post Merger Q3 2023.
AIS - TRUE/DTAC - Same postpaid pricing after the TRUE/DTAC merger
After the TRUE/DTAC merger the duopoly has “somehow” come up with the exact same pricing and packages (GB and minutes) on 6 out of their 10 packages.
AIS denies there is a collusion between them and TRUE/DTAC.
If not the result of a coordinated behavior between the AIS and TRUE/DTAC, then by deciding individually on the packages and pricing, which somehow magically caused a collective outcome.
Perhaps they are using the same fortune teller?
Image: AIS – TRUE/DTAC – Postpaid Pricing Post TRUE/DTAC Merger Q3 2023.
5G Package Subscriptions Thailand Q3 2022
As of Q3 2023 there were 17.9 million 5G package subscriptions in Thailand.
TRUE claimed 9.4 of these while AIS claimed 8.5 million.
The 17.9 million represents a 5G share of 18.3% of total connections in the market. However, note that they brand all packages as 5G, and 5G package subscriptions are also sold to customers with 4G LTE handsets, thus using 4G despite the package branded as 5G.
5G was launched commercially in Thailand 3 years ago.
Image: 5G Package Subscriptions Thailand Q3 2022.
THAILAND'S MOBILE SERVICE MARKET KEY STATISTICS Q3 2023
As of 2022
THE DUOPOLY AIS vs. TRUE/DTAC
The big two mobile operators in Thailand (AIS and TRUE/DTAC) Q3 2023:
(Advanced Info Service)
THB 29.31 billion
THB 322.77 billion
THB 91.04 billion
THB 46.06 billion
THB 8.14 billion
THB 31.33 billion
THB 759.24 billion
THB 660.94 billion
THB 49.93 billion
THB -1.59 billion