OBG talks to Pete Bodharamik, CEO, Jasmine International

Pete Bodharamik, CEO

Interview: Pete Bodharamik

How would you describe the long-term development potential of Thailand’s broadband market?

PETE BODHARAMIK: In terms of broadband penetration,Thailand still has a long way to go before it reaches levels comparable to other countries at a similar stage of development. If you consider that Mexico and Turkey have internet penetration rates of 26% and 47.2%, respectively, against Thailand’s 18.4%, there is massive market potential in the country.

Over the next three years we anticipate the number of Thai households with broadband internet to double from approximately 4.7m subscribers currently to 10m. This growth is in line with longer-term trends of broadband subscriber uptake, which has nearly tripled since 2009.

At present, Jasmine International has a strong position in the upcountry areas of Thailand as we feel this area of the market is underserved, with only 10% of households connected to broadband. We have found there is a significant demand from rural communities for high quality broadband services, as their appetite for data-intensive content has exploded in recent years. As we expand our presence into the urban areas of the country, including Bangkok, we expect to face increased competition. Yet, this will bring a healthy balance to the Thai broadband market and serve to augment overall levels of broadband penetration across the country.

How are broadband providers responding to the demands of a data-hungry consumer base?

BODHARAMIK: Thailand’s broadband market is developing around the provision of high-speed services. This is the vital component that most consumers are
looking for, particularly as they turn to high definition videos, games and other media content as part of their internet experience. In this respect, there is
a growing roll out of fibre-to-the-home services in the broadband market which is doubling the speed of internet services available to the consumer by transferring data via fibre wire as opposed to copper wired ADSL services. Moreover, for the fixed-line market, broadband nodes are being located closer to households than ever before, meaning the speeds on offer have increased notably.

In terms of the wireless market, the jump in data activity that has arisen from the growing penetration of smartphones in Thailand is placing significant strains on the new 3G network. This is partly because the current 3G bandwidth is insufficient for the size and scope of demand in Thailand. As such, a number of operators, including Jasmine International, are expanding their high-speed Wi-Fi networks in an effort to avoid data traffic ‘clusters’ on these networks.

As a company, we now have around 520,000 Wi-Fi subscribers across the country with close to 60,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Thailand, and Jasmine is the only nation-wide provider of high-speed Wi-Fi services in the country. Typically, when a user has heavy data needs, they are likely to switch from 3G to a wireless service, therefore securing this stake in the high-speed internet market is important.

What opportunities does the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) offer to Thai broadband providers looking to expand abroad?

BODHARAMIK: GMS countries offer significant long-term opportunities due to the relative stages of their development. With a growing middle class and liberalising ICT markets, countries like Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia are seeking international investment and expertise to develop high-speed internet and telecommunications capability. Yet, any expansion into these countries will require substantial investments to develop infrastructure capacity, which currently lags behind that of Thailand.

Given Thailand’s status as a business centre for ICT and logistics in the region, it makes sense, in light of these increasing opportunities, for internet providers to expand their presence to neighbouring countries.

How would you describe the long-term development potential of Thailand’s broadband market?

BODHARAMIK: In terms of broadband penetration, Thailand still has a long way to go before it reaches levels comparable to other countries at a similar stage of development. If you consider that Mexico and Turkey have internet penetration rates of 26% and 47.2%, respectively, against Thailand’s 18.4%, there is massive market potential in the country.

Over the next three years we anticipate the number of Thai households with broadband internet to double from approximately 4.7m subscribers currently to 10m. This growth is in line with longer-term trends of broadband subscriber uptake, which has nearly tripled since 2009.

At present, Jasmine International has a strong position in the upcountry areas of Thailand as we feel this area of the market is underserved, with only 10% of households connected to broadband. We have found there is a significant demand from rural communities for high quality broadband services, as their appetite for data-intensive content has exploded in recent years. As we expand our presence into the urban areas of the country, including Bangkok, we expect to face increased competition. Yet, this will bring a healthy balance to the Thai broadband market and serve to augment overall levels of broadband penetration across the country.

How are broadband providers responding to the demands of a data-hungry consumer base?

BODHARAMIK: Thailand’s broadband market is developing around the provision of high-speed services. This is the vital component that most consumers are looking for, particularly as they turn to high definition videos, games and other media content as part of their internet experience. In this respect, there is a growing roll out of fibre-to-the-home services in the broadband market which is doubling the speed of internet services available to the consumer by

Anchor text: 
Pete Bodharamik

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The Report: Thailand 2014

IT & Telecoms chapter from The Report: Thailand 2014

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