Thailand leads the 5G smartphone market

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A woman checks a smartphone during a Mobile Expo held at Bitec Bang Na in Bangkok. (Photo: Bangkok Post)

Thailand saw largest shipments of 5G-enabled smartphones in Asean last year, buoyed by greater availability of 5G handsets, pent-up demand and Covid-19 government subsidies, says IT market research firm IDC .

“We see that 5G-enabled smartphones contributed more than a third of the total market in Thailand in the last quarter and full year of 2021 thanks to Apple iPhones and affordable Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy A52, vivo Y76 and Redmi Note 10,” said Teerit Paowan, Client Device Market Analyst at IDC Thailand.

In Asia-Pacific excluding China and Japan, Thailand was behind only India and South Korea in terms of 5G smartphone shipments, he said.

According to IDC’s “Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker”, Thailand’s handset shipments reached 20.9 million units in 2021, up 20.9% from a year earlier, the fastest growing among ASEAN countries.

In the fourth quarter alone, the market grew 16.6% year-on-year to 5.5 million units, supported by the lifting of the lockdown and seasonal promotional campaigns.

In the fourth quarter, mobile operators contributed nearly a third of the smartphone market as the new iPhone 13 series gained popularity.

“Last year was exceptionally strong due to pent-up demand, Covid-19 cash subsidies and greater availability of affordable 5G smartphones,” Teerit said.

“IDC expects stable growth in 2022, but still 14% higher than pre-pandemic growth in 2019.”

Referring to the planned merger of True Corporation and Total Access Communication Plc (DTAC), the No. 2 and No. 3 mobile operators, he said the move “is likely to result in strong competition between the two major mobile operators.” telecommunications to expand their subscriber bases in the short term.”

“However, supply constraints will continue to be a bottleneck, at least in the first half of 2022,” Teerit said.

In the fourth quarter, Samsung remained in the lead for Thailand in terms of shipments, followed by Xiaomi, which climbed two places, supported by the expansion of its offline channel.

Apple jumped two places to third, thanks to the launch of the new iPhone 13 series. Oppo, which faced tight supply at the low end of its 4G portfolio, fell two levels to fourth to last. trimester.

Vivo fell two places to fifth as it was hit hard by supply shortages for the low-end Y-series.

Mr Teerit said smartphone supply was limited, especially for low-end 4G handsets.

“Some of the smaller players such as HMD [Nokia]Lenovo [Motorola] and TCL made great strides in the market during this time due to their focus on the affordable segment, which was limited by supply,” he said.

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