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Thailand’s 3BB wins gamer market with smart home broadband

Feb 18, 2020 By Tang Youguo, Marketing Expert, Transmission & Access Marketing Execution, Huawei

To improve home broadband for users and ensure the stability and reliability of services such as gaming, 3BB launched the industry's first mesh game accelerator broadband solution. With embedded artificial intelligence (eAI) combined with Huawei's Premium Wi-Fi  home network solution, the ultimate digital entertainment experience has arrived. 

Thailand’s 3BB

As one of the largest fixed broadband service providers in Thailand, 3BB has more than 3 million broadband users. Based on the Digital Thailand national broadband plan for accelerating fiber infrastructure build out, 3BB plans to achieve 100 percent fiber to the home (FTTH). Reconstructing home broadband on the live network has so far boosted the average broadband speed to 136 Mbps, enabling 3BB to provide high-speed broadband services at between 200 Mbps and 1 Gbps. In 2019, nPerf named 3BB as the recipient of the No.1 Broadband Performance award. 

Gamer growth

Thanks to increases in home bandwidth, business is booming for bandwidth-hungry services like video and gaming. Research shows that almost 90 percent of broadband users in Thailand play online games, with 46 percent of those playing for more than 4 hours a week. Gamers tend to be young and they have money to spend, with price wars having proven ineffective at winning subscribers. Instead, Thai operators have realized they need to innovate home broadband services to meet user requirements. Some operators have launched hybrid packages that include basic broadband, video, and gaming services. Gaming broadband has emerged as a key competitive arena for operators, with some sponsoring e-sports events and placing targeted ads to encourage gamers to upgrade their broadband.

Keeping your head in the game

3BB realized it needed to get innovative to keep its lead in the broadband market. After all, high latency spoils the gaming experience and substandard broadband causes the most complaints at 55 percent, encouraging customer churn.

Teaming up with live network suppliers including Huawei, on-site tests found that home networks were the main cause of poor network experience. Around 84 percent of residential buildings in Thailand are large houses or multi-storey buildings, with through-wall attenuation of ONT Wi-Fi signals leading to patchy coverage in some rooms. 

Huawei's game-specific analysis confirmed that the bottleneck for typical games was latency. For example, Thailand’s hottest game, RoV: Arena for Valor, suffers freeze frames if latency exceeds 100 ms.

The mesh accelerator

3BB launched the industry's first Smart Mesh game accelerator solution based on Huawei's eAI and premium Wi-Fi technologies, immediately securing four key advantages over other home solutions:

eAI for intelligent acceleration: Huawei ONTs are equipped with the world's first eAI-based game acceleration function. They intelligently identify gaming services based on neural network learning and provide dedicated Wi-Fi channels for gaming services, reducing E2E latency by 50 percent.

Dual-channel technology for VIP experience: A single ONT can provide separate transmission channels for Internet access and video and gaming services, realizing dual 300 Mbps bandwidth and ensuring a great video and gaming experience even when download traffic is high.

Mesh Wi-Fi for whole-home coverage: Mesh Wi-Fi networking in Huawei’s ONTs enable Wi-Fi signals to reach everywhere in the home.

Intelligent O&M for improving user experience: Using the Huawei iMaster NCE intelligent O&M platform for home networks, 3BB can obtain data about the home service experience without home visits, diagnose home network issues such as Wi-Fi problems and broadband bottlenecks, and quickly solve problems.

3BB users who have subscribed to the Smart Mesh home Internet package receive one GPON ONT and two Mesh Wi-Fi ONTs for free. These devices provide high-speed Wi-Fi coverage everywhere in the home and support dual 300 Mbps, symmetric, high-speed broadband uplink and downlink. One 300 Mbps broadband channel is used for normal high-speed Internet access, and the other is dedicated to services, like gaming and 3BB movies, that require a VIP experience. In addition, Huawei ONTs intelligently accelerate the top 10 online games, including RoV, PUBG, Overwatch, Fortnite, Identity V, and Clash Royale, to ensure a smooth gaming experience without freeze frames. 

3BB users can also watch movies and play games at home at the same time without bandwidth conflicts. 

Smart Mesh takes off in Thailand

3BB started promoting its Smart Mesh package in major Thai cities in September 2019, and has since attracted about 10,000 broadband subscribers. User experience tracking and network coverage data shows that Smart Mesh greatly improves user experience, with most users reporting that 3BB's AiMesh ensures uninterrupted gaming, even with Internet services running at the same time. 

According to network data from 3BB's iMaster NCE on Smart Mesh users, the proportion of low-rate Wi-Fi coverage has decreased from 22 percent to 10 percent and average latency has dropped from 18 ms to 8 ms. 

In the future, 3BB will continue to work with Huawei in areas like online education, ultra-HD video, and cloud VR. In the meantime, gamers can continue to enjoy a premium gaming experience thanks to leading home broadband technologies that bring true intelligence to users.

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