Overview

Telecommunications in Thailand are based mainly on the telephone network, which has two types: a fixed-line system (land lines, international telephone connections, public phones, and the internet), and a wireless system, which carries mobile cellular phones, pagers, and communications radio.

Fixed-line operators in Bangkok are the Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) Public Company Limited and True Corporation, while in the provinces, TOT operates jointly with Thailand Telephone and Telegraph (TT&T) Public Company Limited.

Thailand’s calling code +66
Thailand’s exit code 001
Thailand’s internet code .th

Telephone

The telephone is the starting point of progress and prosperity in any country. In Thailand, telephone networks cover the entire nation and are widely used, especially mobile cellular phones, as they are a convenient two-way communication device that allows seamless telephone calls even when the user is on the move, with wider coverage than the main lines. Also, mobile phone service providers compete in offering attractive promotions, resulting in a fast and continuous expansion of the mobile phone market.

The calling code for Bangkok and its perimeter comprises two digits (02), while calling codes of other provinces in Thailand are three digits, and for mobile phones the code is also three digits, beginning with 08, as shown in the following table:


Telephone type Code
Fixed lines in Bangkok and perimeter 02
Main provinces in Thailand Chiang Mai = 053, Nakhon Sawan = 056, Kanchanaburi = 034, Chon Buri = 038, Khon Kaen = 043, Nakhon Ratchasima = 044, Krabi = 075, Phuket = 076
Mobile phones 080, 081, 082, 083, 084, 085, 086, 087, 088, 089

Proportion of land line use in Thailand
Residences 68.25 %
Businesses 17.47 %
Public phones 6.59 %
Government offices 6.23 %
TOT 1.45 %
Source: National Statistical Office, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

Radio

Radio frequencies in use in Thailand fall under three categories: FM, AM, and shortwave. Radio broadcasting stations in Thailand are either public radio stations owned and run by the government sector, operating in the public interest, or commercial radio (some of which are owned by the government, which has coproduction agreements with private operators). The only official radio broadcasting station is Radio Thailand, operated by the Government Public Relations Department (PRD), with the aim of keeping the public informed with updated news for the benefit of the people and the nation.

Apart from public radio and commercial radio, the Thai people also have community radio as another option. The community radio frequencies are open to community participation in terms of ownership, production, and management. Community radio is meant to serve specific local interest groups, with members’ participation, for information and opinion exchanges, similar to the format of the popular traffic radio station “Cho So 100.” Legislation is now being formulated to exert some control on community radio, which has proliferated greatly in recent years, with the splicing of existing radio frequencies by digital technology.

Television

Television in Thailand comes in four systems: free-to-air television, subscription television, satellite television, and regional television, utilizing VHF and UHF frequencies.

Free-to-air television frequencies
Station Frequency / channel
Bangkok Entertainment Company (BEC), Channel 3 VHF Band 1: Channel 3 UHF Band 4: Channel 32 UHF Band 5: Channel 60
Royal Thai Army Radio and Television VHF Band 1: Channel 5
Bangkok Broadcasting and Television (BBTV) VHF Band 3: Channel 7
Modernine TV VHF Band 3: Channel 9
National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) VHF Band 3: Channel 11
Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS) UHF Band 4: Channel 29

The National Broadcasting Services of Thailand, also known as NBT TV or Television of Thailand, is operated by a government agency, the Government Public Relations Department, with a national network comprising 12 television stations: two in the North (in Lampang and Phitsanulok), two in the Northeast (Khon Kaen and Ubon Ratchathani), one in the West (Kanchanaburi), one in the East (Chanthaburi), five in the South (Surat Thani, Phuket, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla and Yala), and the mother station in Bangkok.

Internet

Internet service started connecting Thailand to the World Wide Web in 1995 – and its growth has been unstoppable. Statistics on internet users are as follows:

No. of internet hosting services in Thailand 1.231 million
Percentage of computer users in Thailand 28.2%
Percentage of internet users in Thailand 18.2%
Source: National Statistical Office, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

The internet has been playing an increasingly important role in the lives of the Thai people, so much so that educational institutions are keen to provide more internet services to students. At present, most educational institutions are equipped with internet infrastructure (see the next table). Moreover, the internet has become an essential tool in business operations, as shown in the second table:

Educational institutions with internet access 97.3%
Educational institutions with wireless internet connection 22.1%
Educational institutions with high-speed internet 66.9%
Source: National Statistical Office, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

Enterprises, classified by frequency of internet use in their operations and economic activities
Type of enterprise Percentage
Business trade and services 56.1 %
Manufacturing 20.3 %
Hospital activities 17.1 %
Land transport and activities of travel agencies 3.5 %
Construction 3.0 %
Source: National Statistical Office, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

Cable

For fast and convenient connection of all kinds of communication signals, both domestic and international, the CAT Telecom Public Company Limited has installed an optical fiber network and a microwave system, and it is connected with the “international gateway” through submarine optical fiber and satellite systems to neighboring countries such as the Union of Myanmar, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, and Malaysia.

A number of submarine optical fiber systems are in use in Thailand:

  • Submarine Optical Fiber Thailand-Vietnam-Hong Kong (T-V-H);
  • FLAG (Fiber Link Around the Globe) Submarine Optical Fiber, linking the United Kingdom, Italy, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea, and Japan;
  • Submarine Optical Fiber Malaysia-Thailand (M-T);
  • Asia-Pacific Cable Network (APCN);
  • Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 3 (SEA-ME-WE3);
  • Southeast Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE4).

Satellites

Communication in Thailand has in recent years advanced even beyond the earth and become more responsive to consumers’ needs and expectations – with communication satellite systems. At present, Thailand has three main satellite networks:

Satellite networks and their purpose
INTELSAT For international communication over the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
INMARSAT For communication between mobile terminals and existing networks or exchanges in Thailand
THAICOM Used to connect communication between domestic users and hub stations, to enable international connections

THAICOM is the royally granted name for the country’s first communication satellite, as an abbreviation of “Thai Communication.” The satellite contributes to the development of communication in Thailand, offering more options with which the Thai people are able to access data and information more conveniently and at a faster rate than before.