Thaicom to offer 5G satellite backhaul

22 May 2019

Thai satellite operator Thaicom aims to carve out a new revenue stream by offering satellite backhaul capacity to the nation's operators for their upcoming 5G networks.

Thaicom chief commercial officer Patompob Suwansiri told the Bangkok Post that satellite will be critical to the future of 5G networks.

According to the executive, Thaicom is currently working with operator AIS, an affiliate of its parent company InTouch Holdings, to prepare for the transition. The company already provides transponder capacity for backhaul for AIS, as well as TrueMove and operators in several other Asian nations.

The company is looking to replace the revenue that will be lost as a result of the exit of seven Thai digital TV channels in August.

Thaicom's concession to operate three of its five satellites will also expire in 2021, but the company is planning to bid to obtain the operating rights to the satellite under a public-private partnership model for after the rights expire.

While satellite will not be able to deliver the low latencies expected for 5G networks, Patompob said around 80% of data traffic usage in the 5G era will be from applications that do not require low latency and will therefore be suited to satellite backhaul.

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