State enterprise National Telecom (NT) has adjusted strategies for its fixed broadband internet business, improving after-sales service in response to fiercer competition.
NT is themerged entity of TOT and CAT Telecom. Its fixed broadband internet service business suffered a loss of 2 billion baht last year. Most of its employees work in the broadband internet business.
President Col Sanphachai Huvanandana said the critical obstacle for the NT broadband business is that it fails to retain many customers after the expiry of their one-year subscription period under promotional packages.
The break-even point of the fixed broadband internet service is around 18 months on average.
“Many of our customers left to go to other networks after the end of the one-year subscription period,” Col Sanphachai said.
He added that not only NT, but also some bigger rivals, have also faced a similar challenge.
He said that the ongoing takeover deal of Triple T Broadband (TTTBB) by Advanced Info Service (AIS) will result in tougher competition in the broadband market in the near future.
“We have been monitoring the deal as it will have a direct impact on our businesses in the long term,” Col Sanphachai said.
The four local big broadband internet players are True Corporation, TTTBB, AIS and NT.
According to a broadband business survival strategy, NT has focused more on becoming a service wholesale provider, allowing other operators to rent its broadband capacity in provinces to provide their last-mile broadband service.
The NT broadband service will also seek partners to strengthen operations.
Moreover, the NT broadband business has upgraded its after-sales service to better serve customers. The upgrade includes installation of additional software that will enable it to quickly fix service problems.
Col Sanphachai said the NT broadband internet business has to limit its expansion of retail business where it is not worth doing so.
NT has to carefully adjust the broadband service as it is involved with 70% of NT’s total employees, he added.
However, NT is reducing overall staff numbers through an early retirement programme.
Col Sanphachai said the NT broadband service earlier had around 2.8 million household subscribers before falling to around 2.4 million by the end of 2022. The trend has continued because of intensifying competition.
Currently, AIS broadband internet service is seen as the sole operator benefiting from the migration of subscribers to its network.
AIS, which is the largest mobile phone service operator in terms of subscriber base, can easily attract new broadband subscribers by offering them bundled packages of fixed broadband internet-wireless services.
A current National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) rule forbids the telecom operators from providing any promotional packages that oblige the customers to stay for more than a year.
Previously, at an NBTC hearing on the TTTBB deal’s impact on consumers, Chatra Kamsaeng, director of The 101 World public policy think tank, said True has a 37.3 % market share for fixed broadband services, followed by TTTBB at 29.4%, NT at 15.9%, AIS at 14.3%, and others with 3.1%.
The takeover deal would create a new leader with a 43.7% market share that would let it benefit from the fixed broadband internet-mobile phone service convergence strategy if it wants to capitalise on a better revenue stream.