Thailand’s Mobile Market as of Q2 2021

Thailand’s Mobile Market as of Q2 2021

Despite weak consumer spending and high Covid-19 infections, the big three mobile operators in Thailand took yet another share of this highly concentrated market further killing the chance of competition.

The Big 3 (AIS, TrueMove and DTAC), moved downward on the low-end offering of unlimited data plans with offers such as THB 150 for 4mbps and THB 200 for 10mbps speed.

However this price level, was the same, compared to the first half of 2020. The plans was offered in a number of provincial areas, addressing the need of the low-end segment amid economic difficulties.

Combined, AIS, TrueMove and DTAC, managed to gain +4.170.600 subscribers year on year (YoY) and +1.119.300 quarter on quarter (QoQ).

The merger of the two state enterprise operators, TOT and CAT Telecom saw a -137.760‬ decline in subscribers QoQ.

One new MVNO license (Thin MVNO) was awarded on June the 15th, to the company Central Telecom Co., Ltd. and the MVNO Redone launched its service in May.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), continued to stay in a decision-making vacuum during the second quarter, due to the long delay in the establishment of its new board.

THAILAND'S MOBILE MARKET KEY STATISTICS Q2 2021

0

Population

As of 2021

0

Mobile Connections

Q2 2021

0

Mobile Penetration

Q2 2021

0

HHI

Lacks competition

0

1GB Mobile Data

Average retail price

0

Blended ARPU

($7.02)

0

Prepaid Market Share

Q2 2021

0

Data Usage

per subscriber/month

THE BIG THREE

The big three mobile operators in Thailand (AIS, TrueMove and DTAC)

AIS
AIS

(Advanced Info Service)

0

Mobile Subscribers

Q2 2021

TRUE
TrueMoveH

(TrueMove H)

0

Mobile Subscribers

Q2 2021

DTAC
DTAC

(Total Access Communication)

0

Mobile Subscribers

Q2 2021

Each has a set of subsidiaries, acting as license holders on various spectra, but branding services under their main brand:

  • AIS Group: AIS, AWN, AIN, ABN, DPC,
  • True Corporation: TrueMove , RealMove , TrueMove H Universal Communication (TUC).
  • DTAC Group: DTAC TriNet, DTN,

None of the three are hosting MVNOs on their networks, despite their licenses stating that minimum 10% of capacity must go to MVNOs, as described in the Notification Regarding Mobile Virtual Networks Service B.E. 2556 (2013) and in the updated MVNO notification as of July 20, 2020. However DTAC and AIS have both launched their own sub-brand services.

Chart 1: AIS, TrueMove, Dtac, Mobile Subscribers – Q1 2017 to Q2 2021

For a more detailed view, click on the small colored squares below the chart to include/exclude operators.

AIS

Total mobile subscribers reached 43.2M, representing a net addition of 467k.

Postpaid subscribers grew 3.3% QoQ, while the postpaid ARPU declined 1.8% QoQ to THB 471.

The Prepaid segment saw an increase of 115k subscribers while prepaid ARPU declined 5.5% QoQ to THB 142 due to low-end offering of unlimited data plan in the market.

According to AIS, at the end of 2Q21, 5G subscribers accounted for 9.6% of postpaid subscriber base, totaling around 1 million subscribers.

Core service revenue was THB 64,778M, decreasing -0.9% YoY. The weak consumer spending led mobile revenue (THB 58,449M) to drop 2.4% YoY.

  • Data subscribers: 75%
  • 4G-handset penetration: 80%
  • Data revenue (% of mobile revenue): 76%
  • Base stations: (3G) 47,600 | (4G) 110,900
  • Churn rate (% per month): Postpaid 1.1% | Prepaid 3.1% | Blended 2.6%
  • GB/data subscriber/month: Postpaid 25,7GB | Prepaid 17,3GB | Blended 19,7GB
DTAC

At the end of Q221, total active subscriber base stood at 19.2 million, an increase of 164k from the end of Q121. The subscriber base increase consisted of 125K prepaid to a total of 13.06 million and 39K postpaid to a total of 6.19 million.

Average Revenue per User excluding IC (ARPU) was THB 247 per month -0.2% QoQ and -2.1% YoY. At the end of Q2, postpaid subscriber base accounted for approximately 32.1% of total subscriber base.

Postpaid ARPU was THB 498 per month, a decline of 0.6% QoQ and 5.2% YoY, while prepaid ARPU was THB 128 per month.

Core service revenues (defined by bundle of voice and data service revenues) declined 0.4% QoQ and 3.7% YoY. EBITDA (before other items) increased 7.9% QoQ and the EBITDA margin for Q221 was 40.4%.

  • Smartphone penetration: 88%
  • GB/data subscriber/month: 23GB
  • MoU (minutes/sub/month): Postpaid: 187 minutes | Prepaid: 73 minutes | Blended: 110 minutes
  • Base stations: (700MHz) 9,100 | (2300MHz) 20,900
  • 4G compatible devices: 85% of DTAC’s total subscriber base
  • 4G Subscribers: 66% of DTAC’s total subscribers are 4G users (12.7m)million.
TRUEMOVE

TrueMove H added 488.7k net subscribers in the second quarter and ended the quarter with a total subscriber base of 31.6 million, of which 21.2 million were prepaid and 10.5 million.

Service revenue was up 1.2% QoQ to THB 20.2 billion.

Core mobile revenue (combined voice and non-voice revenue) was THB 19.1 billion (+0.6% QoQ, -0.6% YoY) as postpaid growth offset prepaid decline, while revenues from international roaming and other services reached THB 1.1 billion.

TrueMove claimed that its 5G users increased approximately 43% QoQ to around 1 million by the end of 2Q21.

NATIONAL TELECOM (NT)

The two state owned telecom operators in Thailand: Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) Telecom, and Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT), was merged into a new state enterprise entity named National Telecom Plc or NT in short. The two operators were and are the only ones having MVNOs on their networks.

National Telecom (NT) Plc.
National Telecom Plc NT

(National Telecom Public Company Limited)

0

Active SIMs

Q2 2021

Of the total 3,333,752 active SIMs on National Telecom (NT) Plc., as of Q2 2021 – Prepaid made up 3.064.931 and the remaining 268.821 were postpaid.

The merger, which the former Minister of Digital Economy said would become the third largest mobile operator in Thailand – saw a decline of -137.760 subscribers in Q2 2021.

The two, was merged on January 7, 2021, into a new state enterprise, named National Telecom Company Limited (NT). Below are two charts, where Chart 2, is the active SIMs on the two state enterprise operators TOT and CAT Telecom before the merger, and Chart 3, is the active SIMs in the merger company National Telecom (NT).

Chart 2: Active SIM at: MY CAT & TOT Mobile PRE-MERGER: Q1 2018 – EOY 2020

Chart 3: Active SIM at National Telecom (NT) January 2021 – March 2021

THE MOBILE VIRTUAL NETWORK OPERATORS (MVNOs)

The two state enterprise operators (now National Telecom) had three active MVNOs on their networks.

Penguin SIM
MVNO Penguin SIM

(By Whitespace Co., Ltd.)

0

Active SIMs

Q2 2021

iKool 3G
MVNO iKool

(By Loxley Pcl.)

0

Active SIMs

Q2 2021

Feels
MVNO Feels

(By Feels Telecom Corporation)

0

Active SIMs

Q2 2021

Redone
MVNO Redone Thailand

(Redone Network Thailand Co.,ltd)

0

Active SIMs

Q2 2021

The three active MVNOs in the market was:

  • Penguin SIM by the company Whitespace (Host: NT)
  • ikool3G by the company Loxley. (Host: NT)
  • Feels by the company Feels Telecom (Host: NT)
  • Redone by the company Redone Network (Thailand) Co., Ltd (Host NT)

In addition, NTT Communication (Thailand), is also using a MVNO license (thin MVNO) and setup to provide mobile services to some of its business clients in Thailand.

a2network (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is reselling SIMs from AIS and TRUE, bundled with its own brand “Berrymobile” to Japanese visitors and expats in Thailand.

The Big 3 operators all have MVNO licenses and are setup up on the two state enterprises under National Telecom (NT), as “Quasi MVNOs” sharing networks and capacity. AIS and DTAC with TOT and TrueMove with CAT Telecom.

The MVNO Redone launched its service in the market in May. There was no active SIMs recorded officially at the end of Q2.

  • In Q2 2021, the MVNO Penguin lost 1.450 active SIMs, quarter-on-quarter and -6,623 compared to Q2 2020.
  • The oldest MVNO alive in Thailand, iKool3G kept its 2.247 active SIMs QoQ but lost 11 year-on-year (YoY) .
  • Feels managed to gain +1.244 active SIMs compared to last quarter (2.088 YoY).
  • Redone launched its service into the Thai market in the month of May

Chart 4: MVNOs: Penguin SIM, iKool, Feels, Redone – SIMs with active users from Q4 2018- Q2 2021

For a more detailed view, click on the small colored squares below the chart to include/exclude operators.

THE BIG 3's MARKET DOMINACE

The Big 3 operators, AIS, TrueMove and DTAC – enjoy complete market dominance with a combined 96.54% market share of the 97.553.207 total mobile connections in the market.

Chart 5: Mobile operators market share by subscribers Q2 2021.

For a more detailed view, click on the small colored squares below the chart to include/exclude operators.

A HIGHLY CONCENTRATED MARKET - LACKING COMPETITION

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 in Q2 2021 is 3,420 – showing a highly concentrated market lacking competition.

Image: Thailand’s Mobile Market Herfindahl Hirschman Index (HHI) Q1 2021.

Thailand's Mobile Market Herfindahl Hirschman Index (HHI) Q2 2021

THAILAND'S MOBILE MARKET Q1 2021 INFOGRAPHICS

Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan’s expertise includes the development and execution of growth strategies, market insights, trends and opportunities, new business models and strategies
How can we help you?

If you have any questions, please fill out the form and a member of our team will get in touch with you. We are always open for talks on how we can add value to your business.

Looking for a Top Class Technology, Media, and Telecom (TMT) Consultant?