AIS looks to maintain market leadership through 5G network investments and strategic partnerships, says GlobalData

Following the news that Thailand-based mobile operator Advanced Info Service (AIS) has partnered with Krungthai Bank Plc (KTB);

Deepa Dhingra, Senior Telecom Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“Given the possibility of Thailand’s mobile market becoming a duopoly with the planned merger of the country’s second and third largest telecom operators -True Corp. and Total Access Communication (DTAC), the current market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) is looking to defend its leading position by investing in network development and offering customer centric services through strategic partnerships.

“GlobalData’s Thailand Mobile Broadband Forecast reveals that the AIS held an estimated 44.7% share of the total mobile subscriptions at the end of 2021 while True and DTAC accounted for 32.7% and 19.8% subscription shares, respectively, at the end of 2021. The new merged entity is expected to become the market leader of the Thailand mobile services market, both in terms of subscriptions and revenue before the end of 2022.

“AIS has been keen on maintaining its leading position through aggressive investments in 5G infrastructure development. It pledged an investment of nearly THB35bn (US$1bn) in 2022, out of which THB12bn is earmarked for 5G network development, THB8 billion will be used for broadband network expansion while the rest will be used to focus on research and development. The operator had also announced the 5GVERSE strategy with focus on the metaverse to foster customer experience.

“Another strategy adopted by AIS to hold onto its market leadership is by providing value added benefits to customers through strategic partnerships. For instance, AIS partnered with state-owned bank Krungthai Bank Plc (KTB) to allow customers convert their AIS points into cash discounts, which they can use at over 40,000 participating retail stores via the bank’s Tung Ngern app. AIS also partnered with local retailing platform Central Retail Corporation Plc (CRC) to allow customers to turn AIS points into a coupon for shopping at CRC outlets.

“Though a duopoly will increase market concentration, thereby increasing the chances of higher tariffs, the efforts being made by AIS and the merging partners True and DTC with respect to network developments and 5G transformation could lead to improved quality of services and better offers for customers.”

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