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2009 Asia Mobile Operators

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Last updated: 25 Jan 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 398

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

The report has gathered together a selection of information about each of these many operators. The range of information presented in the text, and where appropriate in tables, includes:

·         brief history of the company;

·         corporate and business structure;

·         subscriber growth;

·         some information on financial performance;

·         market position.

 

It is noted that the information provided varies from market to market and operator to operator, depending very much on the availability of statistics and corporate reports.

 

In some markets we also provide an overall review of the market in which we find these operators; this overview includes such statistical information as market share and ARPU if available. Within the background information we have also reported on the mergers and acquisitions that have been part of a transformational market.

 

Researcher:- Lisa Hulme-Jones, Peter Evans

Current publication date:- January 2010 (6th Edition)

Next publication date:- December 2010

Executive Summary

This market report provides a wide-ranging review of mobile operators across the Asian region. The overview covers around 170 operators that were to be found in Asia in 2009. There was a combined total of close to 1.9 billion mobile subscribers being served by these operators by June 2009. The list of operators ranges from the giant China Mobile with more almost 500 million subscribers right through to a number of small operators with only a few thousand subscribers each. The list compiled by BuddeComm does not claim to be an exhaustive one but it certainly is indicative of the breadth and variety of operator to be found in the region. It also reflects the highly competitive nature of the mobile sector in this region.

 

The focus of this report is on the operators within the individual national markets. Of course, in addition to these individual operators there are those companies such as SingTel, Vodafone, Hutchison and Axiata (formerly Telekom Malaysia International) that have built a substantial presence around the region through their shareholdings in operators in multiple markets. This aspect of these corporations is not discussed in any detail but is mentioned in passing in the country by country review.

 

The table below shows the top 15 operators as ranked by subscribers at March 2009. The list has remained relatively stable over the last year or so. Compared to the top 15 at the end of 2007, SK Telecom has dropped off the list and Viettel has come in at number 11 as shown in the Table.

 

Top 15 mobile operators in Asia by subscribers – March 2009

Rank

Operator

Country

Subscribers

(million)

1

China Mobile

China

477.2

2

China Unicom

China

137.7

3

Bharti

India

94.5

4

Vodafone Essar1

India

68.8

5

Telkomsel

Indonesia

65.1

6

Reliance Communications

India

69.6

7

NTT DoCoMo

Japan

54.6

8

BSNL

India

46.7

9

Idea Cellular

India

43.0

10

Smart Communications

Philippines

37.1

11

Viettel

Vietnam

34.8

12

China Telecom

China

33.3

13

Indosat

Indonesia

33.0

14

KDDI

Japan

30.8

15

PMCL

Pakistan

28.2

(Source: BuddeComm based on Global Mobile data)

Note: 1Formerly Hutchison Essar.

 

With the progressive opening up of markets to more competition, we have seen the licensing of more and more operators in the various countries of the region. By mid-2009 Cambodia and Vietnam had emerged as the region’s fastest-growing markets. Cambodia had a total of nine mobile operators battling it out for market share in that country, which has a population of only about 15 million and 5.2 million mobile subscriptions. The Vietnam market also became more competitive in July 2009 with the arrival of the VimpelCom-backed GTEL-Mobile. This saw the number of operators in Vietnam increase from six to seven and the booming local market became even busier.

 

There are only a handful of countries that still cling to a single state-owned incumbent structure today. Typically markets are characterised by a number of operators in each market competing on price, service quality, service offering and other market areas to win market share, build customer bases and healthy businesses. We have seen markets like India where some rather complex licensing systems saw dozens of operators enter the market; this was followed by a period of market rationalisation, which it is generally agreed ultimately produced a highly effective commercial environment. Similar processes have taken place right across the region.

 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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