State of Mobile Networks: Thailand (November 2017)

The Thai mobile industry has seen considerable growth in mobile broadband services in the years since the country’s first LTE network launched in 2013. Today the Thai mobile market is dominated by three main operators: AIS, DTAC and TrueMove. In OpenSignal’s first State of Mobile Networks report for Thailand, we’ve focused on the 3G and 4G experience offered by these three players, drawing on more than 407 million tests collected from nearly 28,000 mobile devices in the 3rd quarter of 2017.

Report Facts

407,552,291
Measurements
27,924
Test Devices
2017-07-01 - 2017-09-30
Sample Period
Thailand
Report Location

Highlights

TrueMove dominates our 4G speed and availability awards

Winning three of our six awards outright, TrueMove was definitely the operator to beat in our speed and availability categories. It provided our users with an LTE signal more than 90% of the time, and it had fastest 4G download speeds in our user tests.

Excellent LTE availability for all

While TrueMove won our 4G availability award a clear 8 percentage points ahead of its nearest rival, all three major operators excelled in the category. AIS users were able to access a 4G signal 82% of the time and even third-placed DTAC provided our testers with LTE signal access 75% of the time, according to our results.

Thailand’s download speeds compare poorly with the world

Our results for all three operators showed both 4G and 3G download speeds well below our latest global benchmarks. In 4G, we measured download speeds of 7.6 Mbps for DTAC, 8.9 Mbps for AIS and 10.9 Mbps for TrueMove -- none of which came close to the global average of 16.6 Mbps. In 3G, all three were well short of the 4.4 Mbps global average.

DTAC rates highest in network responsiveness

Our two latency metrics showed DTAC as clear winner in both 4G and 3G responsiveness. Our users experienced delays of only 33.6 milliseconds on DTAC's 4G network and 70.4 ms on the its 3G networks.

Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G

AIS

DTAC

medal medal medal

TrueMove

medal medal medal medal

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Performance by Metric

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by OpenSignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Latency: 4G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Availability: 4G

This metric shows the proportion of time OpenSignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.

Regional Performance

This chart shows the regional winners in each category OpenSignal measures. Click on the icons to see a more detailed graph showing each operator’s metrics in a particular region.

Legend: AIS DTAC TrueMove
Region Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: Overall Latency: 4G Availability: 4G
Central
East
North
Northeast
South

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Analysis

Since True Corp launched the first Thai LTE network in April 2013 mobile broadband has grown steadily in the country to the position it is in today, with our results showing TrueMove, the longest-standing LTE player in Thailand, to be the stand-out operator in both our speed and availability user tests.

In OpenSignal's first State of Mobile networks: Thailand report, we have focused on the three mobile operators that dominate the Thai market both at the regional level and nationwide: AIS, DTAC and TrueMove. Though two smaller operators offer consumer mobile services, the big 3 have the vast majority of mobile subscribers so we've excluded My and TOT from our results. For this report we have analyzed over 407 million measurements collected by 27,924 OpenSignal smartphone and smart device users in the third quarter of 2017. Not only have we compared the 3G and 4G mobile consumer experience on the three main networks, but we have also drilled down into our 4G metrics at a regional level for all three operators across five main areas: Central, East, North, Northeast and South Thailand.

4G access for all

Looking at our national results first, let's start with 4G availability. Our results show excellent access to LTE signals was the norm for each of the three operators across the country. TrueMove won this category by providing our users with an LTE signal 90.6% of the time. That result was eight percentage points ahead of nearest rival, AIS, which delivered 4G signal 82% of the time in our tests. Highlighting the excellent reach of 4G across Thailand even further, third-placed DTAC also had an impressive availability score of 75%.

Taking the speed categories next, TrueMove stood out again in our 3G, 4G and overall speed categories. The operator’s winning 10.9 Mbps 4G download speed measurement was a full 2 Mbps ahead of second-placed AIS’ average of 8.9 Mbps. DTAC came in third, averaging 7.6 Mbps in our tests. It has to be said, however, that none of these nationwide 4G speed results was exceptional. All three operators had average LTE speeds markedly lower than the global average of 16.6 Mbps, as measured in our latest State of LTE report.

And while TrueMove didn’t win the 3G speed category outright, it did tie statistically with DTAC for first place in this metric as both averaged UMTS download speeds around 2.5 Mbps. Once again, however, the 3G download speeds offered by Thailand’s main three operators compare poorly to the global 3G average of 4.4 Mbps noted in our global LTE report.

Our overall speed metric factors in the average download speeds experienced by our users on both 3G and 4G along with the availability of each network. TrueMove won overall speed with an average download speed of 7.9 Mbps, putting it well ahead of AIS, with an average download test of 5.6 Mbps, and DTAC, with a download score of 5 Mbps.

Our nationwide metrics for latency showed DTAC as the clear winner for both 3G and 4G network technologies, indicating a highly responsive network. Latency is particularly important for real-time communications apps as lag time can ruin a conversation. In the 4G category our users on DTAC’s network experienced a delay of only 33.6 milliseconds, ahead of TrueMove’s 38.6ms and AIS’s 40.6ms. In the 3G latency category our users on the DTAC network experienced a delay of 70.4 ms, ahead of TrueMove with 81.3ms and AIS with 88.7ms.

Region by region

At a regional level we once again saw TrueMove dominate in 4G availability and DTAC run away with our 4G latency award, but in our five Thai regions, we saw a much closer contest in 4G speed.

In our 4G availability tests, TrueMove did maintain its leader status by providing the best 4G availability in each of the five national regions in our tests. Our TrueMove users in the Central Thai region experienced a 4G connection a notable 92.2% of the time, above TrueMove’s 90.6% nationwide availability result. However in the North and Northeast, TrueMove's availability fell nearly 5 percentage points short of its national results. While TrueMove's 4G availability is quite good all over the country, our data indicates its most consistent signals are in the region surrounding capital Bangkok, a trend we see repeated by all carriers in most of our metrics.

TrueMove also tied for first place in four regions for 4G download speeds. AIS and DTAC challenged TrueMove in the South, while TrueMove faced off against AIS alone in the North and East and against DTAC in the Northeast. In the Central region, though, TrueMove again demonstrated its strong 4G investment in the areas around Bangkok. It claimed sole ownership of our 4G speed award, delivering the fastest average individual 4G score we measured in the country at 13 Mbps. The slowest 4G speed we measured on the regional level was 6.4 Mbps for DTAC in the East region.

In our overall speed category, TrueMove was the outright winner in all regions but the South, where it tied with DTAC. TrueMove's showing in overall speed is a direct result of its superior 4G availability test results. As our TrueMove testers were able to tap into its LTE service more often across the the 5 regions, they spent less time connected to slower 3G services. The Central region offers a particularly good example of its strong availability coming into play. Our measurements found TrueMove averaged overall speeds of 10 Mbps in that region, a number that nearly matches its national average for 4G speed.

Our best latency results in the regions came, unsurprisingly, from DTAC, which maintained its national prowess with the best latency figures in our tests across four of the five Thai areas. DTAC's network responsiveness fell just below 31ms in the Central Region, but its average 4G latency never exceeded 38.5ms in any of the others, according to our tests.

Thailand has seen considerable growth in mobile broadband over the past five years and its three main operators have succeeded in providing high levels of access to their 4G services nationwide. Speeds, however, leave much room for improvement, falling well short of global averages. There are some signs, though, that speeds may soon begin to climb. Operators are investing in LTE-Advanced and a 4G spectrum auction is on the horizon, both of which may impact the results in our future reports.

Our Methodology

OpenSignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For this particular report, 407,552,291 datapoints were collected from 27,924 users during the period: 2017-07-01 - 2017-09-30.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

©2017 OpenSignal, Inc. All rights reserved.

OpenSignal, Inc retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by OpenSignal, Inc may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.

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