The WhiteSpace, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) under the Penguin brand, has transformed its business model to become a smart solutions provider focusing on 5G private networks through collaboration with partners.
The move is in response to the changing industry landscape, driven by innovation adoption and the consolidation of industry players, said Chaiyod Chirabowornkul, board chairman of The WhiteSpace.
He said the country’s mobile business landscape has been changing over the past few years, particularly with 5G tech adoption after fifth-generation spectrum licences were awarded to major operators in early 2020.
The market was also hit by the pandemic, which made it difficult for operators, particularly MVNOs, to build up customer engagement, said Mr Chaiyod.
The Penguin brand was launched in 2016 as the sole MVNO in the market. An MVNO is a mobile operator that does not own a cellular network, but rents them from others.
The company rents TOT’s 2100-megahertz network capacity and CAT Telecom’s 850MHz network capacity. TOT and CAT Telecom merged to become National Telecom (NT) in January last year.
The rental contracts are still valid following the merger.
“We provided services mainly for prepaid users in the beginning, but have gradually adjusted services to cater to Internet of Things [IoT] for enterprise customers,” he said.
In the 3G era, prepaid customers contributed 100% of the company’s revenue.
In 2021, prepaid customers provided 40% of the firm’s revenue, with the rest coming from the enterprise segment.
“We expect revenue from enterprises to make up 80% of the company’s total revenue by the end of 2022 as the company adjusted its focus last year,” said Mr Chaiyod.
According to him, Penguin had more than 1 million subscriptions and 800,000 active users in 2018, but now has around 200,000 users.
The firm now provides IoT solutions and digital platforms for enterprises, especially using the Global Positioning System through collaboration with partners, said Mr Chaiyod.
“The competition landscape has been changing and it is hard to stick to the old business model,” he said.
The merger of CAT Telecom and TOT as well as the planned union of True Corporation and Total Access Communication would decrease industry players, said Mr Chaiyod.
The WhiteSpace has been aware of this development and knows what to do, he said.
The WhiteSpace recently signed a memorandum of understanding with NT and Taiwan-based Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) to provide 5G enterprise private networks through NT’s 26-gigahertz spectrum range.
Under the cooperation, NT provides the 26GHz spectrum network and CHT provides related devices and platforms, while The WhiteSpace provides related services.
SET-listed Delta Electronics Thailand, a maker and distributor of power management systems and electronics components, has become a customer in this collaboration, adopting a 5G private network at its plant in Samut Prakan, said Mr Chaiyod.
The collaboration allows Penguin to cash in on 5G adoption in vertical industries, he said.