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9 tech trends that will shape 2020

In 2020 many of the trends we spotlight for next year show innovation charging ahead faster than ever, enabled by more access and more demand, as well as by revolutionary new tech platforms and sociopolitical forces. Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research said that “we are having a common technological epiphany, a kind of digital realisation. People are waking up and examining how and where technologies, including AI, Machine Learning, IoT, and new network innovations will best and most securely connect them with the people and things that matter most. The world of technology isn’t a place that can be defined by a single storyline, it’s our job to understand the larger sometimes contradicting contexts we live in – in both of our worlds – and then to home in on the most important developments that could reshape our lives.”      

After over a century of leadership in Thailand’s telecom industry, Ericsson teams up for its next chapter

Country Manager Nadine Allen envisions Ericsson’s new partnership with dtac as an essential step towards the country’s 5G future On October 29, 2019, Ericsson and dtac announced a partnership where Ericsson would manage dtac’s network operations. On that day, Ericsson (Thailand) country manager Nadine Allen spoke to hundreds of dtac employees who would transfer to Ericsson under the terms of the partnership. And while change always causes anxiety, there was palpable relief when Ms. Allen shared that Ericsson has been a telecoms leader in Thailand for over 100 years—and has equally bold plans for the decades ahead. FROM ELEPHANTS TO 5G While 30-year-old dtac is no newbie to mobile networks, Ericsson’s history stretches all the way back to King Rama V. It was after a visit to Sweden that he tasked Ericsson with setting up the first telephone network in Thailand, at a time when giant spools of phone lines were pushed by elephants and field technicians wore pith helmets instead of hard hats.  “Most people don’t realize that Ericsson has been here for 114 years,” Ms. Allen told us in a boardroom overlooking Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, where Ericsson is now located. “There’s a very long-lasting bond between the Swedish…

As dtac announces Q4 growth, its executives share their 2019 turning points

dtac just revealed a second consecutive quarter of growth (read about it here). We asked its executives to look back on 2019 and share their personal view on dtac’s turning point. Alexandra Reich, Chief Executive Officer “I felt the second quarter of 2019 was a major turning point for dtac. After a very rough Q1, it was the first time we saw the numbers reflect all the hard work we had put into improving the network experience. Churn decreased and complaints were half what they had been in October 2018, at the height of our end of concession transition. At the same time, dtac’s teams really unleashed their inner giants in a passionate hackathon where over a hundred of our colleagues participated. In addition to launching our first squads working according the agile methodology, it was the very beginning of our change story.” Dilip Pal, Chief Financial Officer “My strong belief is that the turning point for dtac is when we renewed our focus on the customer’s point of view. For example, we switched from internal network metrics to a granular measure of network NPS [net promoter score, a customer satisfaction score]. This brought up several problems that we had…

Love, secret recipes, and a fast-growing chain of healthy salad bars

Started from scratch by a husband and wife, healthy eating chain Jones’ Salad opened its 10th branch in 2019.  Jones’ Salad, which began as a tiny kiosk in the basement of Chamchuri Square, opened its 10th branch this year. It all began with a tumor the size of an orange. At the time of the diagnosis, Ariya Kumpilo was at the helm of 10 bubble tea stalls. The tumor was removed and proved to be benign, but he was ordered to watch his diet. That’s when he realized healthy eating options were all but inexistent around him. “I wanted to open a health café of my own, but I didn’t know how to cook,” he says. “Still, the idea stayed in the back of my mind.” A couple years later, he met his future wife, Yanin, who is a food enthusiast. The couple started dating. Then she went to study in Australia and stayed with her uncle-in-law, Mr. Jones, who happened to be a particularly gifted maker of salad dressings. When she told Ariya about this, he flew to learn the recipes with her uncle before returning to Bangkok to open the first branch of Jones’ Salad in 2013. “I was…

From Myanmar to Michelin, a Sous-Chef’s Incredible Journey

This year, Myo Min Oo became the first sous-chef from Myanmar at the Michelin Guide-listed restaurant Supanniga Myanmar’s migrant laborers often work the toughest, least paid jobs. They can at least take solace in knowing that, back home, the fruit of their hard work sends children to school and keeps aging parents in good health. But when Myo Min Oo left Myanmar, it was as a runaway teen. And his first years in Thailand offered no hint he would ever support his family, let alone become a sous-chef at Supanniga, a Thai restaurant which holds a plate in the Michelin Guide. Myo Min Oo’s family had wanted him to finish high school. But all his friends left for Thailand, and he decided to follow them. “It nearly broke my father’s heart,” he says. “I was still young back then and just wanted to be with my friends. I was also curious about life in Thailand. But my family didn’t want me to go. The day I left, my dad cried.” His family are Tai Yai, the second largest ethnic group in Myanmar, and live near the Mae Sot Border, where they run a small grocery shop and shuttle goods to and…

11 must-see year-end destinations in Thailand

Looking for new spots to explore this holiday season? Over the past year, dtac has added tens of thousands of base stations nationwide to ensure you stay connected even when far from home. Here are our top picks: Golden Mountain temple, Bangkok Wat Saket sits atop an 80-meter-high hill to which it owes it name, the Golden Mount. It was once the highest point in Bangkok. The huge chedi contains relics of the Buddha, that were brought over from India. During the Loy Krathong festival that takes place every year during the night of the 12th Thai full moon (usually early November), the Wat Saket hosts a temple fair that lasts 9 days. People carry a long red cloth over their heads climbing the stairs to the top of the Golden Mount and wrap the cloth around the base of the chedi. Doi Pui Tribal Village and National Park, Chiang Mai Mount Doi Pui is the second mountain which makes up Soi Tuthep-Pui National Park. Make sure to visit the Hmong tribe village of Ban Kun Chang Kian. It has been able to maintain its traditions and beliefs. Between Doi Pui and Doi Suthep, there's the Royal Winter Palace or…

New service empowers Thai homes with flexible connectivity solution

dtac@home bridges the divide between high mobile penetration and unconnected homes. It’s a hot Friday morning when we accompanied the dtac@home sales reps to walk the streets of Chonburi. Everyone here has a smartphone—even kids have them. But most homes are otherwise missing basic home internet. The issue can be cost or just the slow, cumbersome process of subscribing to a wired broadband connection. There’s therefore no Wi-Fi for kids to use a laptop or tablet. Nor can TVs do online streaming. It’s all mobile or nothing. “Unconnected homes are typical of the growing digital divide in Thailand. Smartphone penetration is over 81 percent and, at 11Gb per month, data consumption dwarves that of many mature markets. But at the same time, many basic digital services remain too costly and too complicated,” says dtac@home product owner Krystle Ramos. dtac is bridging this digital divide with wireless home connectivity solutions, easy digital farming solutions and a connectivity platform for smarter electric motorcycles—three products that bring convenience to the many rather than the few. Of the three, dtac@home is the closest to a national commercial launch. dtac@home trialed initially in Chonburi, Surat Thani and Songkhla. Using a router, it creates a Wi-Fi…

dtac position for 5G and some brief from seminar of Unlocked 5G, The Goal Yet to be Reached

Guess speaker – Mrs. Alexandra Reich, Chief Executive Officer, dtac Mrs. Alexandra Reich, Chief Executive Officer, Total Access Communication PLC (dtac) stated that mobile operator is committed to 5G development. We should launch 5G service in 2021. I am very excited that Thailand is setting up national 5G committee because the collaboration between industries and government agencies will be the key for 5G. Also, 5G will benefit B2B the most as evident in any commercialized countries. South Korea has been in trial process with the result of only 10% of consumers turning to 5G. The network coverage is still unstable. The current 5G developing movement is more for marketing purpose. Even in the United States and Europe, they are still in process to find the most benefit practical use cases for their perspectives. 5G enables better productivity and efficiency for every industry sectors. Individual consumers will still hesitate to pay higher fees for 5G service. Since the past, dtac has been proposing the collaboration between sectors as dtac believes 5G is going to benefit all sectors. Consequently, Thailand should develop the 5G roadmap but Thailand should not push 5G commercialization before the timeframe. Instead of  2020, dtac believes that  2021…

dtac acquires 700 MHz to grow its coverage and 5G spectrum

Independent research companies are starting to recognize the effects of dtac's rapid network and spectrum expansion. With far more spectrum per customer than its competitors, dtac has also added 20,000 sites in the past 12 months to make good use of its wide bandwidth. In its commitment to never stop improving, dtac further acquired a 2x10 MHz block of spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency last June. Prathet Tankuranun, Chief Technology Officer at dtac, explains the significance of this new spectrum acquisition: "“With dtac's spectrum portfolio of 110 MHz, dtac was already a leader in high-band. But we only had 2x5 MHz of low band spectrum on 900 MHz. Low-band is important for indoor coverage and rural areas. With the recent acquisition of 700 MHz allocated by the Nation Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), we are now ready to compete on coverage, too.” A path toward 5G Internationally, many countries allocate 700 MHz spectrum for the use of telecom services, while Thailand previously allocated 700 MHz for broadcast services. However, the NBTC recently recategorised the use of 700 MHz telecom services to comply with international standards. dtac plans to use 700 MHz to provide 4G and 5G services through the…

The new weapon against drug-resistant malaria is in our hands

A new study has found that combining malaria genetic data with human mobility data from mobile networks can help map and predict the spread of drug-resistant malaria. The study was conducted by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Telenor Group, Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit and the National Malaria Elimination Programme in Bangladesh. The study, mapping imported malaria in Bangladesh using parasite genetic and human mobility data, is one of the largest efforts ever undertaken to quantify the human mobility patterns which spread disease. By modelling population movements that spread new, drug-resistant forms of malaria, the study aimed to help local health authorities track and contain this emerging threat to health in Southeast Asia. Combining epidemiological data, travel surveys, parasite genetic data, and anonymised mobile phone data from Telenor’s local operations, Grameenphone, the study was able to measure the geographic spread of different types of malaria parasites in southeast Bangladesh, including drug-resistant mutations. Data pointed to transmission from outside high-incidence areas, and showed substantial transfer of parasites throughout the Chittagong Hill Tracts in southeast Bangladesh. “Our combined method gave us detailed insight into the direction and intensity of parasite flow between locations,” Hsiao-Han Chang, Research Associate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,…