JAS partners for IPTV launch
Pact includes Mono and Korean firm
Telecom operator Jasmine International (JAS) has partnered with Mono Group and KT Corporation from South Korea to launch an IPTV (internet protocol TV) business, to cater to its 3.3 million 3BB broadband internet customers.
The three companies recently signed a memorandum of understanding to proceed with the project. Mono Group is affiliated with JAS through the same major shareholder, Pete Bodharamik.
The move is an attempt by JAS to increase its portfolio in the face of tough competition from telecom operators Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Corporation, who also run IPTV services, according to analysts.
Pisut Ngamvijitwong, senior analyst of Kasikorn Securities (KS), said JAS is competing with True and AIS, who have growing numbers of IPTV subscribers.
"Jasmine may need to add value to its business portfolio, especially for existing content, including TV content from Mono, the owner of digital TV channel 29," said Mr Pisut.
He does not believe the collaboration between Jasmine and KT will lead to a partnership for 5G services because Jasmine has no experience in operating mobile service.
Weeradej Panichwisai, research manager for IDC Thailand, said the collaboration is JAS's attempt to use the 3BBbroadband network to compete with AIS Play and True IDTV.
3BB has a lot of Thai-language content on its Mono TV channel and Monomax application, he said.
If 3BB can provide more exclusive content from Korea Telecom, it might have an advantage, said Mr Weeradej.
However, he said IPTV service will be hard to grow as users have more viewership options from over-the-top (OTT) platforms, such as YouTube and Line TV.
They can also subscribe to paid services directly without needing to pay for additional content from high-speed internet providers, said Mr Weeradej.
Saran Phaloprakarn, head of AIS Fixed Broadband service (AIS Fibre), said the competition will be based on content variety and quality, not only internet speed.
According to JAS, its Korean partner KT has more than 10 years of IPTV operations know-how.
KT also has more than 9 million fixed broadband subscribers and over 8 million IPTV subscribers in South Korea.
Under the cooperation, KT will provide consulting services and system design in relation to the network architecture, IPTV platform and devices for the project, JAS said.
Mono, which has ties with both major foreign studios and local content partners, could leverage expertise in aggregation of content for its TV channel TV Mono 29 and OTT platform Monomax.
JAS aims to achieve 1.5 million subscribers for its IPTV business within one year of launching.
The company indicated 3BB's IPTV services include high-quality linear channels and video-on-demand content from foreign content owners, such as Hollywood, Korean and Chinese movies and series.
Other services include TV shopping and targeted advertising.
"With KT's role as the technology partner transferring knowledge for operating the IPTV business, JAS should be able to gain a competitive edge in the Thai market," said Jasmine International.
FROM LEFT Sang Do Lee, Mono Technology's chief executive, Subhoj Sunyabhisithkul, Triple T Broadband's president, and Youngwoo Kim, senior vice-president and head of global business development at KT's global business group, celebrate their collaboration.