Mobile cellular network business saw robust growth in 2012 as a result of commercial 3G network expansion on existing frequencies, with a rising number of 3G users and constant growth in the mobile device market, where both smart phones and tablets are gaining popularity. The mobile network service market expanded 11.5 percent overall in 2012, close to the gain of 11.8 percent in 2011. Key contributors to this growth included a spectacular upsurge in mobile data service that rose 44.1 percent YoY in 2012, versus 34.7 percent growth YoY in 2011. However, voice services reported slower growth at 3.0 percent YoY in 2012, falling from 7.1 percent YoY in 2011.
In 2013, the outlook seems promising due to the inception of 3G service on the 2.1 MHz bandwidth in Bangkok and major provinces beginning in 2Q13. Growth will likely be more impressive in data services because this new channel will utilize the advancements of 3G to improve data service access and speed over current network performance levels. New marketing campaigns by telecom operators to attract more 3G users should also lead to swifter growth, while at the same time shall help operators cut costs arisen from the revenue sharing obligation. This also minimizes operational risk for some operators whose previous data network concessions are soon to expire.
KResearch expects that the 2013 mobile market will grow 12.8-15.2 percent YoY, with a market value climbing to THB213.6-217.1 billion. Of that total, around THB70.9-74.8 billion will be generated from the use of data services, representing a growth of 39.7-47.5 percent.