Thaicom, the country's sole satellite service provider, is vying to cash in on 5G by providing broadband satellite capacity to the three major telecom operators to create a new revenue stream as the satellite business fades.
Apart from fibre and wireless broadband, the satellite network is a major infrastructure that should be critical to upcoming 5G tech, especially to offload data traffic for operators, said Patompob Suwansiri, chief commercial officer of Thaicom.
Seven digital TV channels will exit from the sector in August, but it should not have a significant effect on revenue as there are 1,000 TV channels throughout Asean renting Thaicom's transponder capacity.
Thaicom may also benefit from an expected increase in revenue from TV channels converting to satellite TV and renting its broadcasting transponder to air programmes.
Mr Patompob said the upcoming 5G technology will come with multi-access platforms that operators can use for operating and managing service through proper infrastructure that their system will optimise data usage through telecom traffic seamlessly.
"Thaicom is working with Advanced Info Service [AIS], another affiliate of parent company InTouch Holdings, to prepare for the move," he said.
However, Thaicom is open to all telecom operators.
Mr Patompob said Thaicom provides transponder capacity as a backhaul network for several mobile operators in Thailand and throughout Asia, including AIS, True Move, KDDI and Softbank in Japan and Maxis in Malaysia.
"When the 5G service commercially launched, the telecom satellite network would play a more significant role for alternative infrastructure, rather than the 4G era due to the low cost of using the satellite's network compared to fibre or wireless network," he said.
5G exceeds 4G in three major capabilities: speed, latency and number of connections.
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