Colonel Dr. Peerawat Promkladpanao from the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of the NBTC led a team at the JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa and met with local representatives from public and private sector entitites to hear their opinions on the state of telecommunications island-wide.
The principle issues that were covered during the meeting included 5G coverage and connectivity, with the possibility of a 5G testing centre being discussed. Additionally, the accelerated deployment of underground communication cables, the implementation and organisation of communication cables on power poles and the allocation and auction of 700 MHZ, 2600 MHZ and 26 GHZ spectrums were raised.
Col. Peerawat said that his team’s inspection revealed that 5G signal coverage in Phuket 5G is about 80-90% although there are certain areas where connectivity is weak or non-existant such as those that may be blocked by mountains. He added that 5G connectivity in most provinces nationwide is strong and reliable.
“Almost all networks can use the 5G service, but there may be some problems in certain provinces,” he said.
Where the signal is weak in certain areas may be down to the fact that 5G network coverage rights were auctioned to selected mobile providers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing problems in the subsequent two year period has meant installation problems.
“In situations like this where 5G signals and connectivity are disrupted or non-existant the NBTC has pledged to have the relevant mobile operators expedite the process to ensure signal coverage is expanded as per conditions specified in any relevant contracts,” Col. Peerawat stated.
He added that another major issue is that of telecommunication lines including a move to have more moved underground, something that is being addressed by the Ministry of Interior in cooperation with the NBTC to ensure that all mobile operators can provide reliable communication lines and connectivity.
“Many provinces including Phuket have already begun to bury communication cables underground,” Col. Peerawat stated.
The information covered in the discussion will be summarised into a report and analysed by Thammasat University to reflect the performance of NBCT and to establish guidelines for the work to be carried out moving forward.
Yesterday’s meeting came after it was recently revealed that Phuket internet connections have been straining from an increase of as much as 25% in internet usage following the work from home mandate being issued.
Internet connection speeds across Phuket have slowed noticeably over recent weeks, with dropped connections and very slow loading times for web pages. An increase in those working from home, remote workers, home-schooling and an increase in tourist numbers to the island have been the dominant factors behind this.
When contacted by The Phuket News, a representative of the Phuket National Telecom office noted that slower connection speeds were most common during the “peak hours” between 7pm and 9pm on the “cheaper” packages provided by internet providers but made no mention of connection speeds affecting businesses during the daytime.