2009 Asian - Mobile Data and the Wireless Broadband Market

Publication Overview

This market report provides an overview of the Mobile Data and Wireless Broadband Market segment across the various markets of Asia. Some 34 Asian countries are covered in the report. It is noted that the amount of information offered is obviously dependent on the relative size of the market in each of the respective countries. The coverage in the report also results in some segment overlap as we see increased convergence in the mobile data and wireless broadband markets.

 

Researchers:- Lisa Hulme-Jones, Peter Evans

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

Next publication date:- December 2010

Executive Summary

Mobile data services in Asia

With some 1.9 billion Asians using mobile phones by June 2009, the region’s mobile markets offer huge potential for mobile data services.

 

The growth of wireless Internet in Asia is being driven by competition in the market place and by the advent of 3G and 3.5G services. Market competition has been driving handset prices and airtime tariffs downward, thus opening up mobile services to wider adoption. The rate of adoption of wireless Internet has started to rise with the overall increase in mobile penetration together with networks being progressively upgraded to next generation platforms. While 3G licensing and the ongoing launch of 3G services in Asia has certainly been promoting the growth of wireless data services, 3G has also been providing opportunities for both wireless access and content providers in domestic markets. In South Asia, in particular, more people own a mobile phone than a PC, giving the delivery of mobile data services huge potential there.

 

Mobile data is not a new phenomenon in Asia. Regional public networks based on Mobitex technology were established in Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea. Another form of mobile data, the DataTAC network, was made available in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, with network trials in South Korea, Japan and China. The DataTAC networks established in Asia were more extensive than the corresponding networks in either Europe or the US.

 

An example of widespread adoption of a particular mobile data service has been the SMS capability of GSM and other digital cellular technologies. SMS, which allows the sending and receiving of basic text messages, became very popular throughout Asia, with remarkable growth being experienced in the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as in China.

 

The business plans of the majority of mobile operators have been built on the assumption that the key to further revenue growth lies in the ability to offer more Value-Added Services (VAS) and, in particular, access to the Internet. A number of technologies are competing for the region’s mobile Internet market. In Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and a number of other countries, in an effort to chase this market, offerings based on the Wireless Application Protocol standard were tried. Apart from South Korea, however, WAP failed to claim any significant share of the market. In Japan, by contrast, NTT DoCoMo launched its i-Mode service and its two rivals –SoftBank and KDDI - launched their own versions of i-Mode with dramatic success, with over 85% of mobile subscribers in Japan logging on from a mobile using one of these platforms. In fact, mobile subscribers (93 million) accessing the Internet surpass fixed line users (90 million). Another system that has supported mobile data, the GPRS, grew out of GSM. Labelled as a 2.5G technology, it has been adopted in a significant number of Asian markets.

 

The widespread adoption of HSDPA, a new generation (3.5G) mobile telephone protocol, is also noted throughout Asia. It is an evolution of the WCDMA 3G standard, designed to increase the available data rate by a factor of 5 or more. In effect, it extends the capabilities of WCDMA in the same way that EV-DO extended CDMA2000, allowing higher data capacity (up to 14.4Mb/s). SK Telecom launched a commercial HSDPA network in 25 major cities in South Korea in 2006, offering customers what it claimed was the world’s first commercial HSDPA-enabled mobile handset, the Samsung SCH-W200. This was followed SmarTone-Vodafone launching a system in Hong Kong in June 2006, providing a data speed of 1.8Mb/s. Others have quickly followed.

 

KTF began rolling out an upgraded HSUPA network in June 2007, for faster data transmission to attract more users of 3G mobile services. HSUPA supports upload data rates of up to 5.76Mb/s, which is 15 times faster than HSDPA, which itself is an advancement of 3G wireless technology. KTF launched high-speed uplink packet access, or HSUPA, in five major cities, including the capital Seoul.

 

SKT also rolled out an HSUPA network and by December 2007 had completed build-out of what it claimed as the world’s first commercial HSUPA network in Seoul. Initially the network covered two districts of Gangdong-gu and Songpa-gu in Seoul, and extended it to the entire city in 2008. Full commercial service started in 2008 when handsets for HSUPA were released in the market. SKT planned to extend the HSUPA coverage to 23 cities across the nation by the end of 2008 and 84 cities by 2009.

 

Japan’s four main mobile operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI (au), Softbank Mobile and eMobile – plan to invest up to ¥1 trillion (US$10 billion) into so-called ‘3.9G’ mobile services, offering end users the prospect of even better and faster options than they have today. Known as 3.9G in Japan, the new networks will use frequencies in the 2,010MHz to 2,025MHz range for Long-term evolution technology. 3.9G performance is roughly comparable with fibre-optic networks and from 2010 a number of domestic carriers intend to utilise their existing 3G infrastructure, on which the providers spent ¥ 5 trillion, to keep 3.9G rollout costs to a minimum.

 

Japan – mobile wireless Internet subscribers by provider – 2009

Company

Service

Standard

Subscribers (million)

NTT DoCoMo

i-mode

cHTML

48.5

KDDI

EZweb

HDML

26.2

SOFTBANK Group

Yahoo! Keitai

MML

16.5

eMobile

EMnet

-

0.1

Total

91.3

(Source: BuddeComm based on TCA data)

 

Asia –WCDMA 3G subscribers by market – 2009

Country

WCDMA subscribers

(million)

Brunei

0.100

Cambodia

0.200

Hong Kong

2.700

Indonesia

9.400

Japan

99.900

Laos

0.010

Macau

0.300

Malaysia

3.100

Mongolia

0.009

Myanmar

0.005

North Korea

0.019

Philippines

2.400

Singapore

2.600

South Korea

18.600

Taiwan

5.900

Total

145.200

(Source: BuddeComm based on Global Mobile data)

 

Wireless broadband in Asia

After a somewhat tentative start, wireless broadband access in its various forms is starting to take hold in Asia. This has seen a flurry of activity as operators rush to acquire the necessary frequency licences. The sector had experienced problems earlier on involving unreliable equipment and network design faults. These have become things of the past. The challenge still facing the industry, however, is to establish viable business models that allow wireless to compete with the more established service offerings - DSL and cable modem platforms in the case of fixed wireless broadband and next generation mobile telephony platforms in the case of mobile wireless broadband.

 

Wireless broadband systems are expected to eventually become a key feature of the broadband access landscape across Asia. Apart from WiFi and WiMAX platforms, wireless technologies include LMDS and MMDS.

 

For some years now, despite high equipment prices and security issues inhibiting adoption, wireless broadband services have been appearing in a piecemeal fashion across the region, notably in airport lounges, transport hubs and hotels, particularly offering mobile travellers immediate broadband connectivity.

 

As with other high technology services, it is the developed economies that have lead the way in this segment of the telecom market in Asia. At the same time, however, wireless broadband technologies are certain to prove increasingly popular in the developing markets as they offer a powerful means of by-passing the incumbent’s infrastructure, especially the ‘last mile’ and also accessing customers where the incumbent’s infrastructure finds it difficult. These possibilities will become even more attractive as the cost of equipment falls with more roll-outs occurring and the market demand volume rising. This pattern has already started to emerge.

 

While there has been some activity in the providing of WiMAX networks, the real test will be the advent of mobile WiMAX. The initial roll-out of mobile WiMAX in Asia has begun but it has been a cautious start. The technology continues to be strongly supported at this stage of its development. The big question is whether it will become a mass market platform or simply satisfy a niche market need.

 

It should be noted that gathering statistics for broadband subscribers in Asia has become difficult with the advent of wireless services and hotspots. One phenomenon that makes it difficult is the practice of service ‘bundling’ by operators. Korea Telecom, for example, had a large number of WiFi subscribers, approximately two-thirds of whom were ‘bundled’ as subscribers on the operator’s DSL service.

 

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Afghanistan
    • 1.1 Mobile Data
      • 1.1.1 Mobile Banking
    • 1.2 Wireless Broadband
      • 1.2.1 Internet Cafes
      • 1.2.2 Third Generation (3G)
  • 2. Armenia
    • 2.1 Mobile Data
      • 2.1.1 ArmenTel (ArmGSM)
      • 2.1.2 K-Telecom (VivaCell)
    • 2.2 Wireless Broadband
      • 2.2.1 WiMAX
  • 3. Azerbaijan
    • 3.1 Wireless Broadband
      • 3.1.1 WiMAX
      • 3.1.2 Wireless Infrastructure
  • 4. Bangladesh
    • 4.1 Mobile data services
      • 4.1.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 4.1.2 Mobile portal service
      • 4.1.3 Mobile broadband
    • 4.2 Wireless broadband
      • 4.2.1 WiMAX licences
  • 5. Bhutan
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 Mobile Data
    • 5.3 Wireless Broadband
      • 5.3.1 Samden Tech
  • 6. Cambodia
    • 6.1 Wireless Broadband
      • 6.1.1 MediaRing’s acquisition of AngkorNet
      • 6.1.2 Wimax
      • 6.1.3 MobiTel
      • 6.1.4 CadComms
      • 6.1.5 GT-Tell
      • 6.1.6 Smart Mobile (Latelz)
  • 7. China
    • 7.1 Mobile data services
      • 7.1.1 Market overview
      • 7.1.2 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 7.1.3 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 7.1.4 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 7.1.5 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 7.1.6 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
      • 7.1.7 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 7.1.8 Broadband wireless data services
      • 7.1.9 Mobile TV
    • 7.2 Mobile applications
      • 7.2.1 Market overview
      • 7.2.2 Surge in new applications development
      • 7.2.3 Global positioning systems (GPS)
      • 7.2.4 M-commerce
      • 7.2.5 Mobile gaming
      • 7.2.6 IM search services
      • 7.2.7 Ringtones
      • 7.2.8 Mobile music
      • 7.2.9 Push email
    • 7.3 Mobile Internet
    • 7.4 Mobile Micropayments
    • 7.5 Wireless broadband
      • 7.5.1 Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)
      • 7.5.2 WiFi
      • 7.5.3 WiMAX
      • 7.5.4 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 7.5.5 Broadband Fixed Wireless Access (BFWA)/Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS)
      • 7.5.6 Broadband via satellite
  • 8. Georgia
    • 8.1 Wireless Broadband
      • 8.1.1 WiMAX
  • 9. Hong Kong
    • 9.1 Mobile data services
      • 9.1.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 9.1.2 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 9.1.3 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • 9.1.4 High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD)
      • 9.1.5 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 9.1.6 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 9.1.7 High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA)
      • 9.1.8 CDMA2000
    • 9.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.2.1 Mobile TV
      • 9.2.2 Mobile content access
    • 9.3 Wireless Internet
      • 9.3.1 Free WiFi on Hong Kong buses
  • 10. India
    • 10.1 Mobile data services
      • 10.1.1 Market overview
      • 10.1.2 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 10.1.3 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 10.1.4 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 10.1.5 Push-to-Talk over Cellular (PoC)
      • 10.1.6 Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW)
      • 10.1.7 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 10.1.8 Mobile entertainment
      • 10.1.9 i-mode
      • 10.1.10 BlackBerry
      • 10.1.11 Mobile TV
    • 10.2 Mobile content
      • 10.2.1 Gaming
      • 10.2.2 Mobile payments
      • 10.2.3 Advertising and marketing
    • 10.3 Wireless Broadband
      • 10.3.1 WiMAX
      • 10.3.2 Satellite
  • 11. Indonesia
    • 11.1 Mobile data services
      • 11.1.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 11.1.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
    • 11.2 Mobile Content
      • 11.2.1 Mobile TV
      • 11.2.2 Other services
    • 11.3 Wireless broadband
      • 11.3.1 WiMAX
      • 11.3.2 Wireless LANs (WLAN)
      • 11.3.3 Internet via satellite
  • 12. Japan
    • 12.1 Mobile Internet
      • 12.1.1 NTT DoCoMo’s i-mode
      • 12.1.2 KDDI’s EZweb
      • 12.1.3 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
    • 12.2 Mobile content
      • 12.2.1 Global Positioning System (GPS)
      • 12.2.2 M-commerce / m-cash
      • 12.2.3 Mobile banking
      • 12.2.4 Mobile advertising
      • 12.2.5 Mobile TV and radio
      • 12.2.6 Mobile ringtone and music downloads
    • 12.3 Mobile applications
      • 12.3.1 Earthquake alerts
      • 12.3.2 Personal trainer
      • 12.3.3 QR code readers
    • 12.4 Wireless broadband
      • 12.4.1 Wireless LAN (WLAN)
      • 12.4.2 World Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX)
      • 12.4.3 Internet via satellite
  • 13. Kazakhstan
    • 13.1 Mobile Data
      • 13.1.1 GSM-Kazakhstan (K’Cell)
      • 13.1.2 Kar-Tel (K-Mobile)
  • 14. Laos
    • 14.1 Wireless Broadband
  • 15. Macau
    • 15.1 Overview
    • 15.2 Mobile Data
      • 15.2.1 CTM
      • 15.2.2 Hutchison Telecom Macau
  • 16. Malaysia
    • 16.1 Mobile data services
      • 16.1.1 Short Message Services (SMS)
      • 16.1.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 16.1.3 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 16.1.4 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 16.1.5 InterReach Unison
      • 16.1.6 Mobile TV/VoD
    • 16.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 16.2.1 Gaming
      • 16.2.2 M-commerce (micropayments)
      • 16.2.3 Blogging
      • 16.2.4 Inflight services
    • 16.3 Wireless broadband
      • 16.3.1 WiMAX
      • 16.3.2 Internet via satellite
      • 16.3.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
  • 17. Mongolia
    • 17.1 Mobile Data and Wireless Broadband operators
      • 17.1.1 MobiCom
      • 17.1.2 SkyTel
      • 17.1.3 Ulusnet
  • 18. Nepal
    • 18.1 Mobile data and wireless broadband operators
      • 18.1.1 Nepal Telecom
      • 18.1.2 Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd (SNPL)
    • 18.2 Satellite mobile
  • 19. Pakistan
    • 19.1 Mobile data services
      • 19.1.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 19.1.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 19.1.3 Mobile TV
      • 19.1.4 M-commerce
    • 19.2 Wireless broadband
      • 19.2.1 WiMAX
      • 19.2.2 Internet via satellite
  • 20. Philippines
    • 20.1 Mobile data services
      • 20.1.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 20.1.2 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • 20.1.3 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 20.1.4 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 20.1.5 Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 20.1.6 Mobile TV
      • 20.1.7 Instant Messaging (IM)
      • 20.1.8 BlackBerry
    • 20.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 20.2.1 Mobile tracking
      • 20.2.2 M-commerce
    • 20.3 Wireless broadband
      • 20.3.1 Market overview
      • 20.3.2 WiFi
      • 20.3.3 WiMAX
      • 20.3.4 Internet via satellite
  • 21. Singapore
    • 21.1 Mobile data services
      • 21.1.1 Short Messaging Service (SMS)
      • 21.1.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
      • 21.1.3 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 21.1.4 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 21.1.5 i-mode
      • 21.1.6 Payment systems
      • 21.1.7 Location-based services (LBS)
      • 21.1.8 Mobile broadband
      • 21.1.9 Other developments
    • 21.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 21.2.1 Development activity
      • 21.2.2 Mobile TV
    • 21.3 Wireless broadband
      • 21.3.1 Allocation of wireless broadband spectrum
      • 21.3.2 Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS)
      • 21.3.3 WiFi
      • 21.3.4 The Wireless@SG initiative
      • 21.3.5 Ultra-Wideband (UWB)
      • 21.3.6 Wired with Wireless Program
  • 22. South Korea
    • 22.1 Mobile data services
      • 22.1.1 Market overview
      • 22.1.2 Mobile Internet
      • 22.1.3 Short message service (SMS)
      • 22.1.4 Multimedia messaging service (MMS)
      • 22.1.5 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 22.1.6 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
      • 22.1.7 Mobile TV broadcasting / Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB)
    • 22.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 22.2.1 Overview
      • 22.2.2 A Mobile Life
      • 22.2.3 Mobile VoD
      • 22.2.4 Position location system / Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
      • 22.2.5 Automobile telematics
      • 22.2.6 M-commerce / m-payment
      • 22.2.7 Mobile banking (m-banking)
      • 22.2.8 Mobile government (m-government)
      • 22.2.9 M-magazines
      • 22.2.10 M-Big Macs
      • 22.2.11 M-movies
    • 22.3 Wireless broadband
      • 22.3.1 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) / Wireless Fidelity (WiFi)
      • 22.3.2 Broadband Wireless Local Loop (B-WLL)
      • 22.3.3 Local Multipoint Distribution Services (LMDS)
      • 22.3.4 Wireless Broadband (WiBro)
      • 22.3.5 WiMAX
      • 22.3.6 Broadband via satellite
      • 22.3.7 Wireless mesh networks
  • 23. Sri Lanka
    • 23.1 Mobile Data
      • 23.1.1 Dialog Telekom 3G
      • 23.1.2 Mobitel 3G
    • 23.2 Satellite mobile
      • 23.2.1 MTN Networks
      • 23.2.2 Mobitel
      • 23.2.3 Dialog Telekom
    • 23.3 Wireless broadband / WiMAX
  • 24. Taiwan
    • 24.1 Mobile data
      • 24.1.1 SMS message volume, WAP and GPRS subscribers – 2001-2007
      • 24.1.2 Mobile Internet
      • 24.1.3 Mobile TV
    • 24.2 Wireless Broadband
      • 24.2.1 Government initiatives for broadband
  • 25. Tajikistan
    • 25.1 Mobile Data
      • 25.1.1 Indigo Tajikistan
    • 25.2 Wireless Broadband
      • 25.2.1 WiMAX
  • 26. Thailand
    • 26.1 Mobile data services
      • 26.1.1 Overview
      • 26.1.2 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 26.1.3 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • 26.1.4 Global Positioning System (GPS) service
    • 26.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 26.2.1 Mobile music
      • 26.2.2 Mobile TV
      • 26.2.3 Gaming
    • 26.3 Wireless Internet
      • 26.3.1 Early wireless Internet access services
      • 26.3.2 WiFi
      • 26.3.3 WiMAX
  • 27. Uzbekistan
    • 27.1 Mobile Data
      • 27.1.1 Unitel
      • 27.1.2 UCell
    • 27.2 Wireless Broadband
      • 27.2.1 WiMAX
  • 28. Vietnam
    • 28.1 Mobile data services
      • 28.1.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 28.1.2 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • 28.1.3 Instant messaging (IM)
      • 28.1.4 Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
      • 28.1.5 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 28.1.6 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
    • 28.2 Mobile applications
      • 28.2.1 Games
    • 28.3 Wireless broadband
    • 28.4 Satellite Internet
    • Table 1 – Mobile data revenues – top three countries – 1H 2008
    • Table 2 – China Mobile mobile data service users – 2004 - 2008
    • Table 3 – China Mobile and China Unicom mobile VAS revenue – 2008
    • Table 4 – China Mobile Value Added Business revenue breakdown – 2006 - 2008
    • Table 5 – China Mobile VAS revenue breakdown (selected items) – 2006 - 2008
    • Table 6 – China Mobile VAS subscribers (selected items) – 2006 - 2008
    • Table 7 – SMS messages sent in China and annual change – 2000 - 2008
    • Table 8 – China Mobile SMS usage volume and annual change – 2003 - 2008
    • Table 9 – China Unicom SMS usage by network and annual change – 2005 - 2008
    • Table 10 – CNNIC WAP usage report on China – March 2007
    • Table 11 – Mobile Internet subscribers and annual change in China – 2006 - 2008
    • Table 12 – SMS messages sent and received – 2002 – 2009
    • Table 13 – SMS statistics for Christmas day and New Years day – 2005 - 2009
    • Table 14 – SMS statistics for Valentines and Chinese New Year day – 2006 - 2009
    • Table 15 – 2.5G subscribers in Hong Kong – 2002 – 2009
    • Table 16 – BWA licence winners in Hong Kong
    • Table 17 – Mobile wireless Internet subscribers by providers in Japan – 2009
    • Table 18 – Mobile wireless Internet subscribers in Japan – 2000 – 2009
    • Table 19 – ARPU for mobile business – 2001 – 2006; 2010 (e), 2015 (e), 2020 (e)
    • Table 20 – Broadband subscribers by access type in Laos – 2008
    • Table 21 – ISPs: broadband Internet subscribers and access types in Laos – 2008
    • Table 22 – SMS volume and subscriber ratio in Malaysia – 2002 - 2008
    • Table 23 – Broadband subscribers by access type in Malaysia – 2008
    • Table 24 – Wireless hotspots and hotspot subscribers in Malaysia – 2005 - 2009
    • Table 25 – Total SMS messages per month in Singapore – 2004 - 2008
    • Table 26 – Wireless Internet subscribers and market share in South Korea – November 2007
    • Table 27 – KT wireless Internet ARPU by service type in South Korea – 2007 - 2008
    • Table 28 – Terrestrial and Satellite DMB subscribers in South Korea – 2008
    • Table 29 – Wireless Internet subscribers by service provider South Korea – June 2008
    • Table 30 – KT’s WiBro subscribers – 2006 - 2008
    • Table 31 – Mobile data service revenue as a proportion of total mobile revenue in Taiwan – 2001 - 2007
    • Table 32 – SMS message volume and revenue in Taiwan – 2001 – 2008
    • Table 33 – Mobile Internet subscribers in Taiwan – 2001 – 2008
    • Exhibit 1 – Overview of broadcasting standards used in China
    • Exhibit 2 – Wireless Internet operators and services in South Korea
    • Exhibit 3 – Comparison of WiBro and other technologies in South Korea
    • Exhibit 4 – Comparison of S-DMB and T-DMB application in South Korea
    • Exhibit 5 – Estimated B-WLL frequencies, bandwidth and applications in South Korea
    • Exhibit 6 – LMCS network operators in South Korea
    • Exhibit 7 – Mobile data licence winners in Taiwan
    • Exhibit 8 – Mobile TV trial broadcasters in Taiwan

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Last updated 18 Jan 2010
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Analyst: Paul Budde

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