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2 VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL SERVICE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN THAILAND: A STUDY OF MARKET OPPORTUNITIES AND SERVICE CAPABILITY FOR CAT TELECOM A Thesis Presented By Rung-A-Roon Khongdee Master of Science in Management School of Management Shinawatra University March 2007 Copyright of Shinawatra University


4 Acknowledgments This research has been conducted at Shinawatra University, under the supervision of Assoc.Prof. Dr. Chuvej Chansa-ngavej of the School of Management at Shinawatra University. I would like to thank Assoc.Prof. Dr. Chuvej Chansa-ngavej, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pacapol Anurit, Dr. Chanchai Bunchapattanasakda and Asst. Prof. Dr. John Walsh for their kindness, advice, and encouragement and for giving me the opportunity to do this study. Special thanks are also due to Prof.Dr. Brain Corbitt, Professor of Management Information Systems, RMIT University, the External Examiner, for his invaluable and insightful comments. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Shinawatra University for the tuition-fee waiver and the research support scholarships, without which this research would not have been possible. i

5 Abstract This research focuses on the Voice over Internet Protocol service (VoIP) business development in Thailand by using a case study of market opportunities and service capability for CAT Telecom PCL. It is based on standardized open-ended interviews using a structured questionnaire with seventeen participants who are directly or indirectly related to the VoIP service. These interviews are summarized using content interpretation and the results are analyzed to find out the market opportunities and service capability for CAT Telecom to succeed in Thai market. The study shows that the existing VoIP service provided by CAT Telecom did not have enough variety and quality for customer needs, the price was reasonable but higher than market price, the sales promotion was perceived by customers but it did not quite reach to target customers, and the distribution channel was convenient for customers, especially e-payment and ATM banking channel. Hence, it was found that the company had not appropriately and effectively utilized VoIP service in terms of : - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion of the marketing mix. Moreover, the result depicts that customers perceived the benefits of VoIP service with regarding to : - Customer value and benefits, Cost to customer, Convenience, and Communication. In summary, the VoIP service as offered by CAT Telecom did not have adequate service capability in the market. From the findings of the research, possible solutions that corresponded to the marketing mix are : - the distribution channel for VoIP service should be a virtual channel that emphasizes the ease of finding the web site with the user-friendly web atmosphere; a bundle of service is needed for the product that leads to customers feeling satisfied in terms of total broadband service solution; the price of VoIP service should be as low as possible to compete with other providers in the market as the consumers have a perception that prices should be lower; and the promotion of VoIP should be advertised on websites, though the sending of activities messages to customer and target customers; also offering alternatives such as the telemarketing, , and pop-ups. These, it is agreed are more effective ways to communicate with customers and target customers. ii

6 Keywords: Voice over Internet Protocol service VoIP Telecommunication Market opportunities -- Thailand Business development CAT Telecom iii

7 Title Table of Contents Page Acknowledgments Abstract Table of Contents List of Figures List of Tables i ii iv vii viii Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 Background of the Research Internet development and the voice telephony market Trend of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in Thailand Company background Structure of organization History of CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT Telecom) Present trends and future developments VoIP services provided by CAT Telecom VoIP service offered by competitors Problem Statements Research Objectives Expected Results Scope of the Research Research Methodology Conceptual Framework Propositions Research Procedures Outline of the Research 12 iv

8 Chapter 2 Literature Review 2.1 Literature Review on VoIP Literature Review on Marketing Literature Review on Service Quality Research Propositions 18 Chapter 3 Research Methodology 3.1 Introduction Qualitative Research Method Types of Qualitative Research Paradigms Positivist research Interpretive research Critical research Case study research The Research Applied in This Study Design of the Questionnaire for the Interviews with Users Purpose of the sections in the VoIP service business development in Thailand Details list of questions in each section Questions for CAT Staff The Questionnaire Interview Sample Interview Process and How the Results were Derived 31 Chapter 4 Results and Data Interpretation 4.1 Demographic Information of Questionnaire Interview Participants Nationality Gender Age Education level Data Interpretation A Summary of CAT Staff Interviewing 49 v

9 Chapter 5 Conclusion, Discussion and Recommendation 5.1 Conclusion on the Findings from Interviews Findings of the Study Demographic profiles of respondents Results of questionnaire survey Research Implications Research Difficulties and Limitations Recommendations for Further Research 67 References 68 Appendices Appendix A VOIP Service 72 Appendix B Letter for Interview 87 Appendix C VoIP Service Business Development Questionnaire 88 Appendix D Results of Interviewing 92 Appendix E IP Phone Diagram 106 Biography 108 vi

10 List of Figures Title Page Figure 1.1 Organizational Structure of CAT Telecom 5 Figure 1.2 Conceptual Framework 11 Figure 2 Research Framework of VoIP Service Business Development 19 Figure 3 Underlying Philosophical Assumptions for Qualitative Research 25 Figure 4 Current VoIP Situation Faced by CAT Telecom 52 Figure 5.1 Nationalities of Respondents 55 Figure 5.2 Genders of Respondents 56 Figure 5.3 Ages of Respondents 57 Figure 5.4 Education Levels of Respondents 58 Figure E IP Phone Diagram 106 vii

11 List of Tables Title Page Table 4.1 Demographic Characteristics of Respondents 32 Table 4.2 Frequency Distribution by Nationality 33 Table 4.3 Frequency Distribution by Gender 33 Table 4.4 Frequency Distribution by Age 33 Table 4.5 Frequency Distribution by Education Level 34 Table 4.6 Result of Question 1 36 Table 4.7 Result of Question 2 37 Table 4.8 Result of Question 3 37 Table 4.9 Result of Question 4 38 Table 4.10 Result of Question 5 39 Table 4.11 Result of Question 6 40 Table 4.12 Result of Question 7 40 Table 4.13 Result of Question 8 41 Table 4.14 Result of Question 9 42 Table 4.15 Result of Question Table 4.16 Result of Question Table 4.17 Result of Question Table 4.18 Result of Question Table 4.19 Result of Question Table 4.20 Result of Question Table 4.21 Result of Question Table 4.22 Result of Question Table 4.23 Result of Question Table 4.24 Result of Question Table 4.25 Result of Question Table 4.26 Result of Question viii

12 Table 4.27 Result of Question Table 4.28 Result of Question Table 4.29 Result of Question Table 4.30 Result of Question Table 4.31 Result of Question Table 4.32 Result of Question Table 4.33 Result of Transcript of the Interview with CAT Staff 50 Table 5.1 The 4Ps/4Cs Adapted and Summarized for VoIP Service by CAT 62 Table 5.2 Important Features of VoIP Service Development 65 ix

13 Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 Background of the Research The environment of traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) networks is different from open architecture of the Internet Protocol (IP) which holds the promise of rapid deployment of innovative services and efficient integration of various technologies such as web, gaming, and messages with the basic voice service. Based on this vision, in the past few years VoIP technologies have been hailed as the killer application for the Internet and the savior of the so-called new economy. The introduction of the Internet protocol in many national and international networks over the past 7 years reflects a number of broad trends in the overall evolution of both global and national information infrastructures. One of these trends is the emergence of a much more vibrant market for long-distance and international calls. There is even a hint of the excitement and chaos of a real market-place with new buyers and sellers rapidly entering, new products and prices being offered monthly, if not daily. Many countries ban IP telephony completely, yet IP calls can be made to almost any telephone in the world. Many public telecommunication operators (PTO) are establishing their own IP telephony services, and/or using IP-based networks as alternative transmission platforms. If all the traditional operators will be able to find a place in this new, open-air market, remains to be seen. However, the early and rapid adapters stand the best chance of sustaining themselves in this new environment while the wait and see group may gradually witness their customers exiting and their traditional markets eroding (Lee, 2006). According to IBM Global Technology Services (2007) the anticipated sunset of traditional telephone technology and the shift to Voice over IP (VoIP) will likely drive a number of business benefits reduced cost being chief among them though many of these benefits may not be apparent to users. People will continue using telephones in the way they always have if telephone are all they offered. However, broader changes in IP-based communications can enable organizations to give their employees communications capabilities beyond telephones and received significantly more business benefits in return. The advent of IP-based communications supporting voice, video and data-known variously as converged communications or unified communications ushers in a broad 1

14 range of enhanced communications based on the convergence and integration of devices and networks. This shift can profoundly affect the way people live and work. Also, it can enable improvements in communications, collaboration, productivity, customer service and more-creating integrated business communications that can foster business advantages that far outweigh lowering the cost of the phone Internet development and the voice telephony market. The important factors for the growth of hi-speed internet (known as broadband) are not only internet consumption for content such as game online but also voice over Internet Protocol now widely used. This rapid growth has led to lower equipment and appliances cost. With the technology of Internet Protocol Network, the voice communication, or use of Internet Telephone has effectively been made more economical. There are various solutions of VoIP such as PC-to-PC, PC-to-Phone and Phoneto-Phone (both wireline and wireless). Phone-to-Phone solution is convenient for users because they only need to connect the VoIP device to Internet connection in the alwayson mode and then they can make use of VoIP Phone immediately. In Thailand, at least the setting of VoIP gateway for consumers for commercial use is illegal. However, VoIP in organization or personal use is not classified as legal. Generally users understand that they can use VoIP by themselves since the current software technology enables people to communicate in both Video and Voice modes via personal computers or phones. The driver for wider use in VoIP is liberalization of the telecommunication industry or the government will allow the VoIP usage for organizations and individuals flat rates of always-on internet connection for unlimited usage of domestic and international content Trend of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in Thailand. The factors that drive the growth of VoIP especially IP telephony in the market according to Trend of Voice over Internet Protocol ( Trend of Voice over Internet Protocol, 2001) are as follows: 2

15 The opportunity to communication worldwide via Internet or Intranet with lower price than traditional telephony Advanced telecommunication development for VoIP Adoption of personal computers in daily life in the past 10 years and the increase in the number of Internet users that has led to VoIP popularity The applications on IP network that have continuously been developed and resulted the convergence of data and voice communication. Reduced cost owing to the advancement of CPU ( Central Processing Unit) Worldwide portability with one number for voice, fax and data, no matter where a person is. E-Commerce continuously grows as the consumers need quality of service and interaction; and Market size of wireless communication users is going to expand and they need flexibility to use service with inexpensive price, therefore this market becomes the business opportunity of VoIP. In Thailand, according to the Telegraph and Telephone Act of 1934, the government has a statutory monopoly in the ownership and operation of a public telecommunications network. Thus, the two State-owned carriers namely, the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) and the Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) are monopolies in local and international call services respectively. During the rapid expansion of the Thai economy in the early 1990s, it became evident that TOT and CAT alone could not expand their services to meet the surge in demand. To circumvent legal restrictions, a number of build-transfer-operate (BTO) concessions were granted to private companies. These concessions allowed the state agencies (as concession providers) and the private companies (as investors of network construction and service providers) to share monopoly benefits by revenue or profit-sharing schemes. These concessions have led to a limited competition in the telecommunications market (International Telecommunication Union [ITU], 2006). 3

16 CAT Telecom has announced their intention to introduce IP-based voice services. In fact, CAT services are for customers with domestic long-distance and international Telephone services Company background. Company Name: CAT Telecom Public Company Limited Alias Name: CAT TELECOM Address: 99 Chaeng Watana Rd., Laksi, Bangkok Thailand Vision: To successively attain worldwide leadership in response to our customers needs with highest satisfaction. Mission: To add stock value for shareholders and customers by providing outstanding telecom services with competitive price in the market. Employees: Estimated at 5,800 people Structure of organization. The organizational structure of CAT Telecom is shown in Figure

17 Board of Directors Audit Committee Executive Committee Office of the President President Internal Audit and Risk Management Office of the Company Secretary Senior Advisors /Advisors Crime Suppression Department Senior Executive Vice President (Administration) Senior Executive Vice President (Finance) Senior Executive Vice President (Marketing and Sales) Senior Executive Vice President (Corporate Strategy) Senior Executive Vice President (Network Operations) Senior Executive Vice President (Business Partners) Figure 1.1 Organizational Structure of CAT Telecom (adapted from 2006) History of CAT Telecom Public Company Limited (CAT Telecom). Today, CAT Telecom has successively provided all kinds of telecommunication services and other related services, both locally and globally. According to Royal Thai Government s Cabinet approval, on July 8, 2003, CAT Telecom has been corporatized with an initial registered capital of 10,000 million baht, consisting of 1,000 million 10- baht ordinary shares effective August 14, Additionally, CAT Telecom became a fully-fledged member of the business community and conducts its business independently, under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), inclusive of the public offering at the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). 5

18 1.1.6 Present trends and future developments. Currently, CAT has not been protected from competition. In recent years, CAT has seen its revenue eroded by competition from international call-back and from substitution of fax and voice calls by , and other Internet-based services. To regain its falling revenue, CAT launched many services such as PhoneNet, CAT 009, CAT2Call and CAT2Call VoIP services provided by CAT Telecom. 1) CAT 009 CAT 009 is a product for economical Calls Code and cost-effective calls worldwide and a new choice for customers. It enables customer to make easy phone calls, all day everyday, through a most efficient international telecommunications network. It is available 152 countries worldwide. 2) CAT PhoneNET Card CAT PhoneNET (International Prepaid Calling Card) is a product to make costeffective and more economical calls throughout 24 hrs., by using a CAT PhoneNet Card through the most efficient international telecommunications network. It is available to 152 countries over the world from any touch tone phone (No Local call charges) and customer can call from U.S.A. to Thailand. Card price is either 300 or 500 baht. 3) CAT2Call CAT2Call is a PC-to-Phone service, existing VoIP capabilities through technology and facilitates such a service that can be transmitted and delivered over the Internet and CAT Telecom s Network. Customers can call from any PC/Notebook and enjoy savings on long distance and international calls to worldwide, by pay as you go, starting with as little as 3 Baht. CAT2Call could offer service to more than 41 countries worldwide which are Australia, Austria, Bangladesh-Dhaka, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam,Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UK., U.S.A, and U.S.A.-Hawaii. 6

19 4) CAT2Call Plus CAT Telecom launched CAT2Call service which is the international telephone via Internet Network (VoIP) since March 1, It is a PC-to-Phone or Web Phone type that made overseas calls at an economical price. Customers started to make overseas calls while using internet. CAT2Call target groups are foreign tourists, call shops and general customers. From the time it was first introduced, it has generated great interest among general public and CAT Telecom is the first company that provides the service legitimately. However, since users have to connect to the internet first to use the service, many users find this difficulty. Therefore, CAT Telecom has developed a new Phone-to-Phone type service to make customers more convenience and added organizations or SME industry as target groups to allow overseas call more economical. The service is called CAT2Call Plus, that is, a PC2Phone or Web Phone service. Customers can use CAT2Call Plus service to make calls to overseas and receive calls from anywhere in the world even when abroad if a customer connects to broadband internet. It only requires the customer to bring an Internet Access Device (IAD), equipment and contact CAT Telecom to use the service. 5) CAT2Call Plus (Softphone) CAT2Call Plus (Softphone) will be launched soon as an added service to CAT2Call Plus, which is a windows-based application that enables high quality voice and feature rich telephone for the computer. Any customer can make and receive calls wherever they are connected to the Internet. The details of CAT2Call and CAT2CallPlus may be found in Appendix A VoIP service offered by competitors. 1) TOT TOT Public Company Limited was established on July 31, Providing telecommunications and other related services through sole operations and/or jointventures with other entities. In addition, operating businesses was being a shareholder in other companies. TOT Corporation Public Company Limited has been renamed to "TOT Public Company Limited" as of 1st July The initial registered capital of TOT is 6,000 million baht with paid up capital of 6,000 million baht. The Ministry of Finance 7

20 wholly and solely owns the Company equity of 600 million common stocks at a par value of 10 baht per share. Vision: To be a leading innovative telecommunication operator and the maximize customers satisfaction. Mission: - Strive to be a leading telecommunication operator - Deliver creative, premium and valuable products by newly innovative technology - Understand customer s need and maximize customers satisfaction TOT PCL shifted its focus to broadband Internet business in acknowledgement that fixed-line phone services will become obsolete within the next five years. Broadband services, including voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP) fixed-line, are expected to become the major revenue source for TOT. The new business direction is based on belief that the moribund fixed-line business alone will not sustain business growth as a result of intense competition. A lower margin, greater competition and flat growth in the fixed-line business have prompted TOT to expand broadband business to diversify revenue stream, TOT has almost four million fixed-line customers. Average revenue per fixed-line user of TOT is now 430 baht per month, against 480 baht for True Corporation and 400 baht of TT&T Plc. TOT reported a net profit of 6.68 billion baht on revenue of billion last year. In 2004, it made a net profit of billion baht on revenue of billion baht. Broadband revenue was between 400 million and 500 million baht in TOT had 100,000 broadband customers as of Dec 31, Up to 70% of the total users were in the provinces and the remainder in Bangkok. TOT plans to expand its broadband network coverage to 90% of the population this year, up from 70% at the end of last year, enabling it to serve almost 600,000 customers (Phoosuphanusorn, 2006). 2) True True was incorporated in November 1990, and registered as a public limited company in 1993 under our former name, TelecomAsia Corporation Public Company Limited. True began trading on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in December 1993 with the security symbol TA and registered capital of 22,230 million baht. At this time TA had an annual turnover of 2 billion baht and employed 1,500 staff. In April 2004, as part of a 8

21 rebranding under the True brand name,ta changed its name to True Corporation Public Company Limited and adopted the security symbol TRUE. Backed by Asia s largest agro-conglomerate, the Charoen Pokphand Group (with an approximately 34 percent shareholding), True provides consumers, small and medium enterprises, and corporations with a full range of voice, data and multimedia solutions customized to meet their needs. True is a leading fixed line service provider and the largest broadband provider in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area (BMA), and a major player in the cellular, Internet and pay-tv markets. Major subsidiary and affiliated companies in the True Group include True Move (formerly TA Orange), the third largest mobile phone operator in Thailand, True Internet, no.1 ISP, and United Broadcasting Corporation (UBC), Thailand's leading pay television operator. True received additional approvals to provide value-added, public payphone and other services, and launched the PCT service in 1999, hi-speed data transmission services including ADSL and cable modem in 2001, and Wi-Fi services in At the end of 2005, the True Group had an annual turnover more than 51 billion baht, infrastructure investments of more than 100 billion baht, and employed more than 9,000 staff. True has recently launched new VoIP service known as TrueNetTalk (the description is in Appendix A) since July 2006 to build image of Telecommunication convergence service provider by merging Internet, Mobile Phone and Traditional Telephone together. 1.2 Problem Statements CAT Telecom has offered the following VoIP services: 1) CAT2Call has been launched to the market since March 2005, and at the start of the research had approximately 700 customers. Summary of CAT2Call Target Customers. Consumer Segments: call shops, Internet users (Dial-up or broadband users) travelers and overseas students. Revenue via Internet Payment. Year 2006 (Jan May): 485,600 baht 2) CAT2Call Plus has been launched to the market since February 2006, and at the start of the research had approximately 400 customers. 9

22 Summary of CAT2Call Plus Target Customer: - Corporate Segment (e.g.smes) - Existing CAT DATA Communication customers under services such as HiNet, Frame Relay, Leased Line etc. - Consumer Segment: Call Shops, Residential (Broadband Users) Revenue. Year 2006 (Feb May): 300,000 baht From revenue earning and number of customers, we have found that there were some problems that obstructed the growth of VoIP service business and the summary of the problems could be listed as follows: 1) How can a company develop VoIP service to be appropriate for customer needs? 2) Were existing services better than those of competitors? 1.3 Research Objectives In this study, there were 3 objectives: 1) To study VoIP service business development in Thailand; 2) To explore market opportunities and service capability for CAT Telecom; and 3) To determine appropriate VoIP service. 1.4 Expected Results Market opportunities and service capability for CAT Telecom would be established and the appropriate VoIP service recommended to CAT Telecom executives. 1.5 Scope of the Research The research involved VoIP customers, staff of CAT Telecom and non-customers or customers of other VoIP service providers. 1.6 Research Methodology Method: The method employed in this research was qualitative method by conducting face-to-face, mail and telephone interviews using structured questionnaires. Data analysis: The interview results were analyzed based on the interpretation of the responses according to the conceptual framework in Figure

23 1.7 Conceptual Framework The conceptual Framework in Figure 1.2 related to viewing from regulator, service provider, end user or target customer/player onto VoIP service business development. After receiving different views about VoIP service, which were expressed depending on the offering of respondents opinion based on standardized open-ended interviews using a structured questionnaire, then the responses were processed for the purpose of reflection to some propositions for offering feedback. Regulator Service Provider VoIP Service Business Development Target Customer/ Player End Customer Figure 1.2 Conceptual Framework 1.8 Propositions Proposition 1: The company utilized the four Ps of the marketing mix appropriately and effectively. Proposition 1a: The product had variety and quality of service for customer needs. Proposition 1b: The price was reasonable. Proposition 1c: The sales promotion was perceived by customers and target customers. 11

24 Proposition 1d: The distribution channel was convenient for customers. Proposition 2: Customers perceived directly through of benefits from VoIP service in terms of four Cs: Customer value and benefits, Cost to Customer, Convenience, and Communication. Proposition 3: VoIP business that was offered by CAT Telecom had adequate service capability in the market. 1.9 Research Procedures Study research methodology/related topics/ how to conduct research 2. Write up research proposal 3. Design/construct questionnaire for interview 4. Pretest samples 5. Collect Data 6. Analyze and summarize data 7. Interpret findings 1.10 Outline of the Research In the chapters of the thesis that follow Chapters 2-5, the following details are covered: Chapter 2 presented a Literature Review focusing on VoIP and Marketing Mix. Chapter 3 describes the methodology used in the research and how the research was planned. Chapter 4 illustrates the result and data interpretation of the study. Chapter 5 indicates the conclusions that directly stem from the research, discussions of the knowledge that was gained from the research made, and recommendations for further studies. 12

25 Chapter 2 Literature Review 2.1 Literature Review on VoIP According to Lee (2006), the term Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is used in its generic context which means the conveyance of voice, fax and related services, partially or wholly over packet-switched IP-based networks. Always-on broadband connections make it possible to make and receive calls to and from the public switched telephone network (PSTN) using VoIP. IP technology has been used for many years within the core transmission network to provide long distance voice services to end-users. Pre-paid, long distance or international voice service providers have shown a strong preference for IP technology because of the ability to reduce prices. Lee (2006) also pointed out that VoIP services can have five different attributes compared to traditional PSTN telephony for customers. In comparison with PSTN Telephony, VoIP service is in different at least five ways as follows: 1) Geographic location: VoIP services are location independent and enable endusers to make and receive calls at any locations in the world providing broadband access. 2) Personal service: The capability of calling with the same number (or username/ip address) worldwide makes the service more personalized and allows endusers to tailor their preferences. 3) Less expensive cost: VoIP services using IP networks allow for significant cost savings compared to voice services on the PSTN resulting in much lower retail prices. 4) Enhanced function: VoIP services are normally provided with additional features not available with traditional telephony such as instant messaging ( Chat ) and presence management (e.g. online or offline ). Glynn (2006) additionally discussed the idea of softphone, communications should be just another feature built into applications, like spell checking. Furthermore, just like spell checking, softphone communications should be simple to use and not demanding on the users attention. Subtle notifications, fading dialogs, and a minimalist set of options are all that are necessary in a softphone. A softphone, in conjunction with an intelligent SIP communication platform, can provide enhanced portability to break the fixed nature of traditional phone systems. 13