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AIS calls for nationwide support in ‘fight for economic recovery’

Up to Bt45 billion committed to 5G networks across the country

Thailand’s biggest mobile-phone network provider, AIS, has issued a rallying call to “all stakeholders and industry leaders in all sectors” to join it in a concerted and coordinated drive to “fight for the recovery of the country and create sustainable growth.”

The company’s vision is spear-headed by a commitment to invest between Bt35 billion and Bt45 billion this year to build a 5G-based telecommunications infrastructure to cover all 77 provinces. It has named the vision “AIS 5G: Forging Thailand’s Recovery.”

The Chief Executive of Advanced Info Service (AIS), Somchai Lertsutthiwong, said the 5G networks will be a new digital infrastructure covering the whole country. In particular, it will focus on supporting the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Over the past three decades, AIS has invested more than Bt1.1 trillion in building the country’s telecommunication infrastructure. This year will see further continuous expenditure of between Bt35 billion and Bt45 billion to deploy the digital infrastructure. 

Currently, AIS has spectrums including low-band (700-900 MHz) 50 MHz; mid-band (1800-2600 MHz) 170 MHz; and high-band (26 GHz) 1200 MHz.

“AIS was the first operator to launch its AIS 5G service, beginning in February this year,” Somchai said. “Expanding the network to all 77 provinces began in May.” 

AIS will make Thailand the first country in the world to use 5G Dual Mode SA/NSA. SA is for Stand-Alone Technology and NSA means Non-Stand-Alone Dual Mode. Both can be consolidated on a particular 5G network, including a 5G network that runs with 4G, so that it is ready to employ 5G in a variety of beneficial situations such as Massive Internet of Things or ‘Mission Critical’ events where an organization’s operations are threatened.

Utilizing 5G network “slicing technology”, the architecture will enable the multiplexing of virtualized and independent logical networks on the same physical network infrastructure. Each network “slice” is an isolated end–to-end network tailored to fulfil diverse requirements requested by a particular application. This will allow the design of a network for each layer, giving it the characteristics of each kind of industry and each area, with flexibility and efficiency, and covering the entire business requirements of each organization.

AIS is thus offering to both invest in and develop this new technology for Thailand, as a backbone of central digital infrastructure. The 5G infrastructure will support and enhance the competitiveness of all sectors of Thai society. 

Enhancing various industrial sectors

AIS has joined forces with significant industries in the EEC area, including Amata, Sahapattana, WHA, BBS Joint Venture, (co-investors in the development of U-Tapao Airport and Eastern Aviation City), Laem Chabang Port, the Port Authority of Thailand, Central Retail, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Sustainable Development Sector from Thammasat University, and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology. These organizations will use the new 5G technology to benefit the economy and society.

This collaboration is expected to attract foreign investment, increase productivity, create more jobs, increase incomes and improve the quality of life for Thai people..

Somchai said that AIS had been continuously testing the use of 5G technology in various industrial sectors, including medicine, logistics, manufacturing, security, the smart city concept, as well as in practical public health matters during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It has been a tremendous delight for AIS to work with all of our partners to utilize 5G innovations in real-life applications, including the industrial sector, retail, tourism, education, entertainment, and sustainability, to support national recovery, and to take Thais beyond the crisis so that we can prevail together,” Somchai said. 

The big mission is to make the EEC industrial area “5G-ready”, with networks covering land, sea, and air, since the EEC is the new economic location with potential to attract trade and investment from all ASEAN countries. 

5G technology will enhance levels of management in industrial estates, which will become smart industrial estates with smart building management supported by the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart communication. It will thus become a completely smart city.

With 5G technology, Laem Chabang will become the first port in Southeast Asia to control container cranes remotely with closed-circuit television and 5G-connected security systems and security-control building. This will make Laem Chabang a smart port.

Moreover, 5G and digital technology will also enhance operations at the U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport. It will become a smart airport, with facial-recognition and object-detection technologies to make travel secure in the “new normal” era.

AIS’s partners laud 5G technology and how it will help Thailand

The founder and Chief Executive of Amata Corporation, Vikrom Kromadit, said Thailand needed 5G technology as an engine to accelerate its growth towards becoming a smart country.

5G is expected to help business grow by at least three per cent. However, if 5G is used efficiently to add value to the economy, as it is in China, South Korea and Japan, then Thailand’s competitiveness will grow by up to five per cent. 

“I believe that our partnership with AIS – to lead to change with 5G – will bring a future transformation to Amata,” Vikrom said.

The President of Saha Pathana Inter-Holding, Vichai Kulsomphol, said that 5G technology would help his company to reduce production costs by providing it with real-time stock control. 

The deployment of 5G technology will attract foreign investment in establishing factory bases in Thailand because the technology will enable them to remotely control their factories and manage production in the Sriracha area without having to travel to Thailand. 

“It will not only reduce their costs, but will also enable the relocation of some modules to be made on production lines in Thailand,” Vichai said.

The Chairman and Group Chief Executive of WHA Corporation, Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, said WHA will collaborate with AIS to utilize 5G technology on appropriate frequency bands, and use it to deliver solutions that meet and maximize customer benefits in industrial estates.

Thailand should grab the opportunity offered by capital movements from China, and 5G is regarded as a digital infrastructure that can attract investment, especially in the areas of robotic, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things technologies. 

The Assistant Director-General (Engineering) and Acting Chief Information Officer of the Port Authority of Thailand, Ruangsak Bamnetpan, said that under the Port Community System Project, the authority has an e-logistics platform that uses digital technology to manage big-data related to water-transportation bureaux and expansion of capacity at Laem Chabang Port Phase 3. 

Consequently, the use of high-speed technology such as 5G will support the port authority’s operations effectively, in terms of sending and exchanging information via the e-logistics platform. From the moment a ship enters the port, the processes of lifting containers from the vessel to the container terminal and preparing delivery to customers will be automated.

“We would like to thank AIS for becoming a key player in the use of 5G technology to improve the country’s container-terminal service processes,” Ruangsak said.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive of BTS Group Holdings, Kavin Kanjanapas, said collaboration with AIS will bring digital technology to U-Tapao Airport, making it become a smart airport. He was speaking on behalf of the BBS Joint Venture Group, consisting of Bangkok Airways (BA), BTS Group Holdings (BTS), and Sino-Thai Engineering Company Limited and Construction (STEC), 

He said 5G technology will perform an essential role in improving work efficiency, especially at U-Tapao’s  third passenger terminal, by increasing the level of the work and making the airport a comfortable and efficient eastern aviation metropolis where passengers are able to spend less of their valuable time.

“I am confident that AIS’s 5G technology will positively help us a lot,” Kavin said.

Retail and tourism enhanced by 5G technology

Smart retail is expected to be a game changer, with new experiences that have never been seen before by both Thais and foreign shoppers.

AIS has collaborated with Central Retail Corporation to bring 5G and digital-network innovations to improve the retail business, by combining online technology and offline shopping to create a new experience.

Some aspects of the smart retail concept include: 

  • Smart mirror: A digital mirror technology will appear in stores selling products such as clothing. When customers view the smart mirror, they will be able to automatically measure and choose an accurate size, which will be displayed quickly via a 5G network.
  • Advance Digital Signet will bring a data-analytic principle to shopping centers by analyzing faces as customers walk in, and displaying advertisements according to customers’ interests.
  • Real-Time Personalize to the Right Target will also use facial analysis to present products according to a customer’s personal needs.

The Chief Executive of Central Retail Corporation, Yol Phokasub, said that retail and service businesses will be able to help drive the Thai economy since they employ more than two out of every three workers in Thailand. Central Retail has the most significant proportion of jobs in this sector. 

With AIS 5G, it can generate a new shopping experience that has never been seen before in Thailand. All of this will make Central Retail a platform for shoppers anywhere and any time – in real-time.

“We are ready to step into this game changer by using big data from The 1 Card, smart logistics and smart payments,” Yol said.

Meanwhile, tourism is the country’s primary source of income. Therefore, in order to help the country’s economy recover, it needs to increase the capabilities of tourism operators. 

AIS has joined hands with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to use 5G virtual reality technology as a new motivation to travel in the post-COVID-19 era. It will open new perspectives on places that have never been seen before, to attract tourists and distribute income to communities.

The Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thapanee Kiatphaibool, said that 5G technology will benefit the tourism industry’s strength, especially by making virtual reality “more realistic”. 

TAT will collaborate with AIS to use 5G virtual reality technology to excite tourists with presentations of “Unseen Destinations”, to motivate them to travel and experience the destinations for themselves and taste the real atmosphere of Thailand. 

“We would like to thank AIS for bringing this great technology to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. It will be a part of marketing to formulate a perfect Thailand, as a real preferred destination for Thais and foreign tourists,” Thapanee said.

AIS is also using 5G virtual reality in another partnership. It has teamed up with the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST), to create science-learning content in the form of virtual reality for education courses at elementary and secondary schools. 

It is also working with the Air Force Museum to generate virtual-reality content for each model of aircraft, producing a new learning experience that is different and attracts children.

AIS is also bringing 5G digital innovations to the building of sustainable-development models. In collaboration with Thammasat University it is researching the application of 5G and Internet of Things technology on 100 rai of land at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus.

Collaboration between AIS and Thammasat University will also cover: 

  • Smart city: the use of digital technology, 5G and Internet of Things to develop transportation and security systems in city precincts that comply with urban sustainable development guidelines.
  • Smart living: the use of technology to build sustainable livelihoods by managing energy, natural resources and waste – including electronic waste – for the maximum benefit of the public.
  • Smart farming: the development of technology by testing sustainable agricultural practices in acknowledgment of food security, food safety and farmers’ well-being.
  • The promotion of public participation in creating sustainable development.

The Vice-Rector for Sustainability and Rangsit Campus Administration at Thammasat University, Assistant Professor Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, said the university intends to establish a Sustainable Development Goals laboratory as an experimental area to combat climate change, find a way to re-absorb greenhouse gases, and investigate sustainable and renewable energy use. It will also work towards an improved quality of life, particularly with safe foods.

“We have used Puey Park for People and Sustainability as a green space for growing organic vegetables. We have the most massive organic-rice farm in Asia, and among the universities, this is the world’s No.1 in creating safe-food sources,” Prinya said. 

Use of 5G will provide this area with digital technology, which can then be used in other communities in the future, for a sustainable quality of life for all, he added.

In conclusion, AIS’s Somchai said that people at AIS are ready to bring the best 5G technologies to become the “leading digital vein of Thailand”. Integrating the new technology into the processes of industries, as mentioned by AIS’s partners, will help to transform Thailand and overcome the damage done by the Covid-19 crisis. 

“Therefore, I require all sectors to join in the national recovery mission in response to the government’s “Thais Building the Nation Together” policy,” Somchai said.



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