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iPhone Launched in Thailand with Poor 3G Network

Lacking technologies raise questions about the iPhone’s future in Thailand

The iPhone 3G has arrived in Thailand with the mobile operator True Move. According to the website iPhones Talk, Apple reportedly negotiated for some time to get the phone into the country. Despite its potential appeal in the Thai market, there is speculation surrounding how many Thai users will be able to take full advantage of the iPhone 3G's rich features due to spotty 3G coverage and lack of education about the phone's advantages, in addition to the lack of heavy data related usage there.

Given its price tag, another question arises: Does the iPhone make sense for consumers and operators in countries where voice calls dominate mobile use, and data/Wi-Fi usage isn't very high?

Due to a decision made by leading Thai mobile operators last year the country has scaled down their investment on 3G network upgrades, which could result in a large group of iPhone users without a fast, native network on which to use their gadget. According to Reuters India, however, True Move expects to launch 3G mobile services in Bangkok this coming April.

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Most Recent Comments
recycler 01/19/09 09:20:00 PM EST

The iPhone will do as good as can be expected under the current financial circumstances in Thailand. Not a lot of 3G yet, but nationwide coverage with EDGE that is sufficient for most mobile internet users. Thais love expensive gadgets it doesn't matter if they use it or not. It's not uncommon to spend 2 months' wages on a phone here.

There are however 2 threats:
1. Most Thais who can afford an iPhone have it already. For the past 2 years the iPhone has been a top status symbol in Thailand.
2. TRUE Move is not the biggest operator in Thailand. I would expect more potential users to be using 12Call/AIS. AIS has better coverage in rural areas. There is no number portability and the more up-market target users who use their phone professionally don't like to change their number. So the market for SIM lock removed iPhones will continue.

And Thais sure love to call, they have the most calling time on mobile phones worldwide! I hope for them the health effects will only be a bad rumor.