2015 REWIND: The biggest Asia-Pacific telecoms stories of 2015
2016 is upon us, and as everyone looks ahead to see where the APAC telecoms sector is going, Telecom Asia looks to the past to see how the sector got here in the first place.
In our second annual Rewind feature, we wrap up 2015 with a look back at the telecoms news stories that dominated the headlines and captured our readers’ attention (i.e. generated serious pageviews) on telecomasia.net.
Among the big stories this year: Spectrum wars at WRC-15, standards wars for narrowband LTE, 5G defined, the rise of OTT video services, an M&A feeding frenzy (including one that hasn’t actually happened yet), Project Loon, and the strange and terrible saga of the [alleged] Great Firewall of Thailand.
The Great Firewall of Thailand
Thailand was a major hotbed of telecoms-related news as the military government continued implementing various telecoms reforms and conducted a marathon 4G spectrum auction.
But the story that really raised eyebrows was the reported plan by the government to create a single internet gateway in and out of the country that would be managed by state-owned CAT Telecom.
When the news broke in September, critics instantly blasted the move. Some described the single gateway plan as “the great firewall of Thailand” whose real purpose was to allegedly control the flow of information on the Internet. Others argued that routing the Internet through a single gateway controlled by one entity would result in slower internet speeds and a single point of failure. Yet others complained it heralded a return to the monopoly days when CAT Telecom ran the only commercial Internet gateway in the country.
After the news broke, various government and telecoms parties issued sometimes conflicting statements about whether the plan would go ahead, or ever existed in the first place.
Information and Communication Technology Minister Uttama Savanayana said the single gateway was just a proposal under review, and that the goal of implementing it would be to reduce costs for Thailand’s ISPs. Acting CAT CEO Colonel Sanpachai Huvanandana said CAT was pushing ahead with a rebranded single gateway as a cost-saving measure.
By mid-October, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the plan had been scrapped, according to Reuters. But that didn’t stop the Anonymous hacking collective from declaring war on Thailand’s government - and in particular, CAT Telecom - over the idea a week later.
“The latest project of the Thai military government is to deploy a single gateway in order to control, intercept and arrest any persons not willing to follow the Junta orders and your so called morals,” said a statement from Anonymous.
Shortly afterwards, the websites of the Information and Communication Technology and finance ministries and CAT Telecom were among those targeted in a DDoS attack.
Prototype is focused on sub 6-GHz bands so cellcos can focus on coverage and 4K performance first
Industry reps agree that current models will not be enough to ensure mass adoption