In 1908, Ericsson established operations in Siam, as Thailand was then called. This was accomplished in the following manner. When the state-owned PTT needed to modernize its telephone network, the operator's adviser, a former German telegraph officer named Collmann, was contacted. Collmann in turn spoke with Ericsson, which agreed to deliver a station for the capital city of Bangkok with 2,400 subscriber lines.
For the first time, Ericsson sent one of its own engineers to supervise both the installation of the telephone station and the construction of the network. In Mexico, SAT engineers had performed this task. Helge Rost, who would later work in Mexico, received the Bangkok assignment.
The tropical climate subjected the central battery systems that Ericsson had supplied to considerable strain, but operations were maintained. The Thai PTT was so pleased with Ericsson's products that when a major network expansion was planned in 1929, the operator once again contacted Ericsson, which this time sent two engineers.
Over the years, Ericsson made sporadic deliveries to Thailand. In 1952, the first PBX was sold in the country. Ten years later, Ericsson supplied its first crossbar switching station to Thailand, which was installed in Bangkok and served 10,000 subscribers.
After establishing the crossbar switch in Thailand, Ericsson opened its own sales office in the mid-1960s. Previously, the company had only been represented by an agent.
During the 1970s, Ericsson's sales in Thailand increased, and in the 1980s, growth accelerated. In the beginning of the decade, the first AXE stations were installed in Thailand, and in 1985 and 1986, the country's first mobile telephone network, which was Ericsson's NMT 450 system, was taken into operation.
During the first half of the 1990s, Thailand's PTT awarded licenses for fixed telephony to two new operators. Network deployment began, and Ericsson received new orders.
In 1994, Ericsson received its first order for GSM equipment, when the first digital mobile telephone was installed in Bangkok and the vicinity. Since then, the network has been gradually expanded.
Ericsson's operations in Thailand currently include manufacturing, which is conducted in close cooperation with customers and employees. Almost all employees are Thais. Many perceive Ericsson as a domestic company, due to its long history in the country. The head office is located in central Bangkok.
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