Japan has long enjoyed amicable relations with Thailand; 2007 marks the 120th Anniversary of Japan-Thailand Diplomatic Relations. Sumitomo Electric has also contributed to Thai economic growth and human resource development, and has facilitated technological transfer to Thailand since a few decades ago, through the construction of electricity and communications networks, traffic control systems, etc.
Thailand has achieved rapid economic growth since the late 1980s, with people, commerce and industry concentrated solely in the Bangkok metropolitan area, resulting in such urban problems as traffic congestion, air pollution and water contamination. Traffic congestion in particular becomes more serious every year.
In Bangkok, expressways have been developed as measures to ease traffic jams. Sumitomo Electric delivered traffic control systems for the Bangkok Second Expressway, in collaboration with local Group companies, between 1991 and 1998. More recently, we installed 152 image-processing vehicle detectors at 45 intersections in Bangkok City, to identify traffic conditions on open roads with severe traffic congestion. Sumitomo Electric has also constructed traffic volume measurement systems capable of continuously monitoring traffic conditions, with the centralized systems installed at the traffic control center.
As for regions other than Bangkok, in 2002 Sumitomo Electric participated in the Intersection Improvement Pilot Project organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand. In that occasion, the Company introduced its signal control systems to Thailand for the first time. On the basis of that experience, between 2003 and 2004 Sumitomo Electric delivered its signal control systems at main intersections in Phuket, a renowned tourist city, greatly helping alleviate traffic congestion.
The harmful effects of overconcentration of population, commerce and industry in Bangkok have been conspicuous in the field of telecommunications. Since only very few fixed-phone lines have been installed in rural provinces outside the capital city of Bangkok, fixed-line phone services in these provinces have remained inefficient. To address this problem, Sumitomo Electric and Commuture Corp. proposed a wireless local loop (WLL) project, to build up wireless communications networks between base stations covering all of Thailand, with antennas installed at subscribers' homes. The contract for the project was awarded in 2002 and construction work was completed in 2005. In 2006, the number of base stations stood at 191, with the number of subscribers reaching approximately 150,000. This project has greatly improved the situation regarding fixed-line phones and facsimile communications, particularly in rural provinces.