Thailand has formed a National 5G Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to speed up the country’s 5G development and digital economy.

Thailand is the first ASEAN country to have commercial 5G services, and this committee will help both the economy and individuals to get the most out of the new networks.

The committee will set out a clear roadmap for 5G adoption and infrastructure development by ensuring the participation of key ministries, said Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) in Thailand. It will also coordinate between related agencies involved in rolling out 5G networks in the nation.

Additionally, the committee will help NBTC recall unused spectrum from state agencies. Spectrum refers to radio frequencies that wireless services use to transmit data, and is managed by the government. Reallocating unused spectrum will allow for faster service and avoid network congestion.

The Digital Economy and Society Ministry has partnered with Huawei Technologies Thailand to provide 5G-powered AI tech to hospitals across the country. High speed networks will allow doctors to make faster diagnoses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led top mobile operators in Thailand to accelerate 5G deployment, especially in hospitals. “Application of 5G to public health demonstrates how digital infrastructure can have a significant impact on people’s health during a major emergency,” said Buddhipongse Punnakanta, the country’s Digital Economy and Society Minister.

Huawei has also set up 5G test beds in Thailand, so companies can trial different uses for robotics, IoT and AI. 5G has great potential for enabling new tech in the country, including smart farming and connected vehicles.

The company will offer additional support with new training centres, at a top university in Bangkok, to build the country’s tech skills. The center will equip students with the skills they need to work in the information technology, robotics and engineering industries.

This is a crucial move for building up Thailand’s digital economy. “We are here to support the development of 5G, and we are very happy to support the fourth industrial revolution here,” said Huawei Vice President Edward Zhou.

5G will be a “backbone” for post-Covid economic recovery, says GSMA, a global network for mobile operators. Industry experts recognise that the ICT sector and the digital economy will be instrumental in helping the economy post-pandemic.

Several countries within Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, have set up similar 5G committees.