In Opensignal's first 5G Experience Report on Thailand, AIS dominates the awards table, with two outright and five joint crowns — which means wins in all of our categories. TrueMove H secured four shared wins, while DTAC — shared three awards, all for our experiential metrics. AIS claimed both of its sole wins in our 5G speeds categories — 5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed. TrueMove H shared two of its awards with AIS for our 5G extent metrics — 5G Availability and 5G Reach. For our experiential awards, AIS shares the 5G Video Experience award with DTAC, while all three operators jointly win the two remaining awards — 5G Games Experience and 5G Voice App Experience.
Thailand held its 5G spectrum auction in February 2020, when the regulator NBTC assigned frequencies in 700 MHz, 2600 MHz and 26 GHz to Thai operators for 100.52 billion baht ($3.2 billion). AIS and TrueMove H obtained licenses in the 2.6 GHz and 26 GHz bands, while DTAC purchased only 26 GHz licenses.
On top of that, AIS secured spectrum in the 700 MHz band, while state-run firms CAT and TOT that merged together to form National Telecom (NT), purchased licenses in the 700 MHz and 26 GHz bands respectively. NT is expected to reveal its 5G investment plans by the end of 2021, while it considers either returning its 700 MHz spectrum assets or forming a partnership with AIS and True Move to use its block in the 700 MHz range.
Both AIS and TrueMove H deployed their 5G networks soon after the auction, using their newly purchased 2.6 GHz spectrum bands. AIS was the first to launch in February 2020 and TrueMove H followed the 5G trail in March 2020. Meanwhile, DTAC uses 700 MHz for its 5G deployment. There are substantial differences in spectrum holdings between the three main Thai operators — AIS holds 1,420 MHz (1200 MHz in 26 GHz band), True Move H — 990 MHz (800 MHz in 26 GHz), while DTAC — only has 270 MHz (200 in 26 GHz band). There may be a chance for DTAC and other operators to obtain spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, which is key for 5G deployments worldwide. A satellite service provider Thaicom’s licenses in this range expired in September 2021 — but NBTC is yet to announce a 3.5 GHz auction.
In this report, we examine the 5G experience of our users on the three main mobile network operators in Thailand: AIS, DTAC and TrueMove H, over a period of 90 days beginning July 1 and ending September 28, 2021, to see how they fared. We have also published a companion report — Thailand Mobile Network Experience — which analyzes the overall experience of all our mobile users in Thailand.