How Thai businesses are relying on connectivity to bounce back

This is a guest post from Rajiv Bawa, Chief Business Officer at dtac.

After months of lockdown, casual face-to-face interactions are back. Meeting with clients in a more relaxed setting has allowed me to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them and how they’re fighting back.

We dubbed these interactions “Delight Moments,” as they allowed us to show our empathy for the difficulties businesses are enduring right now. They’ve all had to pivot and reinvent themselves in different ways. But one common theme is that their view of mobile connectivity is forever changed.

The lockdown triggered the realization that organizations can keep on functioning despite their people working from home. The amount of mobility may vary for each industry, but everyone now believes that being flexible and mobile is a critical need that isn’t going away. And they see a need for new tools to do this well.

For some industries, such as logistics, machine to machine communications can bring much needed efficiencies to cope with the surge in e-Commerce. And we are also seeing a heightened need for secured networks outside of the office. That being said, basic mobile connectivity remains the top requirement for all our partners.

While heavy data usage was traditionally concentrated in dense urban areas and business districts, there is now more rapid growth in the provinces and residential areas. This has a deep impact on network planning.

When meeting with the vice rector of Chulalongkorn university, he told me that not only remote learning had grown in importance in the new normal, but also the university’s focus on satellite campuses. One such site is in Nan, where the quality of coverage trails behind Bangkok.

This can be somewhat at odds with the PR hype around 5G. Most organizations recognize that their students or employees require nationwide coverage and capacity on their existing devices. As was clear from speaking to major logistics companies, rolling out 5G in dense urban areas to benefit one percent of devices currently in the market does not meet that need.

Instead, businesses are focused on exploring sustainable 5G use cases. They’re looking to see how they can improve their efficiency or their scale for distribution. But they realize it’s a journey for the next two years.

In the meantime, there are urgent needs for robust mobile offerings that allow companies to be resilient and connected no matter what: worry-free mobile plans for employees that offer unlimited connectivity at a fixed price, simple solutions for private networks and additional security, easy-to-use tools to enhance online customer interactions, such as virtual business telephone systems. And these solutions are the core focus of dtac Business.

Now that Thai companies have had a taste of the speed and flexibility offered by mobile connectivity, there’s no going back. In fact, many of them invited us to spend more time in their premises to observe how they work and propose what connectivity can do for them, be it for people or machine-to-machine communications.

This is not to say face-to-face interactions won’t continue to matter. I relished the opportunity to meet customers in the casual setting of our “Delight Moments.” I was even accompanied by dtac’s Nong Tua D—and trays of ice cream! This allowed customers to open up and share deeper insights. It was also a reminder that making connectivity always more human and more “jai dee” (kind-hearted) is a goal we should never lose sight of.