Thailand and United States Partner to Promote Next-Generation Wi-Fi and Connectivity

The United States, the Royal Thai Government, and business leaders began a workshop today to exchange information on the importance of next generation Wi-Fi technology and the allocation of 6 GHz spectrum, which will not only make home Wi-Fi faster, but further strengthen Thailand’s position as a center of advanced manufacturing and industry innovation.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), the Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE) and the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), kicked off a two-day workshop today on the utilization of the 6 GHz spectrum band, including wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi. The event included industry and government experts from the United States and Thailand, who shared technical advice and best practices that will foster further development of Thailand’s communications infrastructure and economic development goals.

Unlicensed spectrum (or radio frequency) bands and Wi-Fi technologies play an important role in the global digital economy. Devices such as wireless routers, smart phones and laptops that employ Wi-Fi and other unlicensed standards have become indispensable for providing low-cost wireless connectivity in countless products used by consumers and industry. Wi-Fi already supports an estimated 30 billion connected devices globally and will be the connection point for over 70 percent of mobile data traffic by 2023.

The proliferation of these technologies and new applications will require additional spectrum capacity. Thailand and other ASEAN countries are now determining how to allocate the 6 GHz spectrum band, which not only will impact applications such as Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced manufacturing, but will also empower innovative technologies, applications and services that will drive the new digital economy and benefit consumers.

“The U.S. Government is committed to supporting Thailand 4.0. Working in partnership with America’s private sector, the U.S. Department of State, Department of Commerce, Federal Communications Commission, USTDA is helping to share experience that will enable the next generation of Wi-Fi and play a major role in the growth of Internet of Things in Thailand,” noted Chargé d’Affaires Michael Heath. In April 2020, the United States became the first country in the world to allocate the entire 6 GHz spectrum band for open technologies such as Wi-Fi.

“I would like to express sincere gratitude towards the U.S. Embassy, USTDA and other related U.S. agencies for making this workshop possible. Thailand recognizes the need to accelerate the availability and affordability of next-generation wireless applications and services, and how access to the 6 GHz band will play a part in this equation,” said Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.

Key participants included Thai and U.S. government officials, U.S. and Thai industry experts, as well as regulatory stakeholders from the ASEAN region. The Office of the NBTC also provided updates on the current state-of-play on Thailand’s 6 GHz spectrum allocation.

“The Office of the NBTC is exploring options that would maximize the utilization of our 6 GHz resources to drive further digitization and innovation for our economy. We have been following the Technological Neutrality principle while participating in the ongoing technical discussions at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conferences, from which we expect final recommendations on the 6 GHz spectrum next year. I strongly believe that all participants from both governmental and non-governmental sectors, including regulators from ASEAN countries, will acquire many informative inputs during this two-day workshop, especially from those at the forefront in allocating 6 GHz band like the United States and their respective industries.” said NBTC Acting Secretary General Trairat Viriyasirikul.

The United States and Thailand have enjoyed a strong relationship that spans two centuries. The historic partnership extends from the age of sail to the telegraph; from wireless radio to the digital age of today. Thailand has already made its mark in the global digital economy, boasting a successful early rollout of 5G and ranks among the world’s highest mobile banking and social media usage rates. The United States and its private sector stand ready to build on this long partnership with Thailand by expanding innovation, investment, and knowledge sharing to achieve shared prosperity.