Why does the AIS SIM2Fly dominate the market for Asian travel data?

countries and their tourism incom

Why does Thailand’s AIS SIM2Fly dominate the communication market for Asian travel?

Due to the huge tourism imbalance, Thai MNOs, as well as the rest of Asia’s MNOs, experience a huge surplus of data and consequently sell it via a low-cost travel SIM, example being: the SIM2Fly.

Howmuch.net published a convenient graphic on tourism spending which lists the top countries with large tourism spending. Here’s what they found:

Top 10 Tourist Destinations by Money Spent

Destination Money Spent in Destination
United States $214 billion
Spain $74 billion
France $67 billion
Thailand $63 billion
United Kingdom $52 billion
Italy $49 billion
Australia $45 billion
Germany $43 billion
Japan $41 billion
China $40 billion

To give some perspective on what this means for each country, let’s display this spending as a percentage of GDP:

The Top 10 Tourist Destinations by Money Spent as a percent of GDP

Destination Tourist spending as a % of GDP
Thailand 12.2%
Spain 5.1%
Australia 3.2%
France 2.4%
United Kingdom 1.8%
Italy 2.4%
 United States 1.0%
Germany 1.0%
Japan 0.8%
China 0.4%

There are, of course, some island nations which earn a large part of their GDP from tourism.

Top Destinations by Money Spent as a percent of GDP

Destination Tourist spending as a % of GDP Country GDP
Jamaica 18.6% $16 billion
Bahamas 22.6% $13 billion
Mauritius 16.4% $12 billion
Barbados 19.2% $5 billion
Maldives 52.2% $5 billion

While these island nations are earning heavily from tourism, it is interesting to note how much is spent in Thailand in comparison. Tourism spending in Thailand is much larger than the GDP of Jamaica, Bahamas, Mauritius, Bahamas, Maldives, Fiji and Barbados combined!

Additionally we should take into account the lower cost of goods and services in Thailand. Spending $1,000 in US, UK or Spain is much more accomplishable than it is to spend $1,000 in Thailand, which requires a lower budget. Bangkok has a cost of living index of 56.76, while Paris’s is 85.4 and New York’s is 100.

Mobile DATA!

AIS, True and DTAC, the major Thai Telcos, are serving up terabytes of mobile data to all the inbound travellers so they they are able to share their photos on Instagram and WeChat!

Instagram photos from Thailand demand data – the SIM2Fly could provide this!

Wait, how does this relate to the SIM2Fly travel SIM?

SIM2FlyImagine 10 Chinese travellers coming to Thailand for every 1 Thai person going to China. That means that China Mobile needs to provide 10 customers with around 10 GB of data in Thailand. The first option would be that China Mobile purchases 10 GB of data from the Thai Telco. Let’s say the cost is $10. China Mobile needs to send Thai Mobile $10. Now, there is only one Thai traveller in China, requiring $1 of data.  The net result is $9 flowing into Thai Mobile. By receiving this $9, Thai Mobile is exposed to taxes and forex changes. What if there was an easier, less conspicuous way?

Alternative solution

The other way to handle this transfer is for China Mobile and Thai Mobile to exchange Gigabytes. In the above example after the exchange, Thai Mobile gets 10 GB to use on China Mobile network, and China Mobile gets 10 GB to use on Thai Mobile network. Exchanging GBs is quite straightforward – there is no cash exchange involved; only some quick entries on a database.

The problem for Thai Mobile, then, is an excess of unused Gigabytes from China Mobile and other countries. The solution is thus to sell a product domestically that is competitively priced and easily accessible to as many Thai outbound travellers as possible. SIM2Fly is thus created!

Thailand’s unique position with the SIM2Fly

Telcoms in Thailand are at a unique position, in that lots of other international Telcos desire a partnership with them in order to allow their subscribers to seamlessly visit Thailand, using the SIM2Fly. It is for this exact reason that Thailand has some of the best and most conveniently priced outbound roaming products.

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