Thailand wire nest of electricity and telephone wires. Source:

For the first time Thailand’s smartphone subscriptions will overtake fixed-line telephones this year, with smartphones expected to reach approximately 50 million users, according to the June 2016 Southeast Asian Ericsson Mobility Report. Thailand was one of the top countries in the world for net mobile subscription additions in Q1 of 2016.

The report confirms that Thais are very social media driven, as almost half of all subscribers access social networking apps, instant messaging and online videos on a daily basis.

The report also reveals that the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to overtake mobile phones by 2018. Within the time span of 2015-2021, the number of IoT connected devices globally is expected to grow by 23% per year, with mobile IoT to experience the highest surge in growth.

Thailand's smartphone subscription overtake fixed-line telephones

There is potential for mobile broadband in Southeast Asia as mobile becomes the go-to device. Source: Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2016.

“Smartphone subscriptions in Thailand are expected to continue to increase and is forecast to pass those for basic phones this year”, Says Camilla Vautier, Country Head of Ericsson Thailand, in an interview with Bangkok Post.

Vautier also predicts that by 2021, smartphone subscriptions will reach 80 million, compared to 40 million in 2015. This is partly due to the affordability of smartphone devices, and the popularity of data-intensive apps. Mobile carrier companies have been competitively rolling out data intensive packages for consumers, which highlights the increasing popularity of app coverage in Thailand. This means that voice now contributes less than 5% of mobile traffic, consumers are more interested in application coverage and data-centric bundle deals.

These stats are very favorable for Thailand and for the Southeast Asian region as it sees a rise in middle-income households that will drive demand for high-speed broadband access. With increasing spending power, high internet penetration and a priority in data-driven mobile coverage, Thailand’s ecommerce potential will surge with the country’s connectivity growth.

Access the Ericsson Mobility Report here.