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2011 Asia Mobile Operators - December

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 23 Dec 2011 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 417

Analyst: Peter Evans

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 Average Revenue per User (ARPU) if available. Within the background information we have also reported on the mergers and acquisition that have been part of a transformational market.

The countries covered in this report include: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Researchers:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- December 2011 (9th Edition)

Executive Summary

Asia - a diverse market verging on 3 billion subscribers and surging growth in the developing economies

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 2012.

There was a combined total of around 3.1 billion mobile subscribers being served by these operators going into 2012 and with an annual growth rate of close to 20% the region can be expected to reach 3.6 billion mobile subscribers by year end.

The list of operators ranges from the giant China Mobile with almost 700 million subscribers right through to a number of small operators with only a few thousand subscribers each. BuddeComm’s overview of operators in the region does not claim to present an exhaustive list of licensed operators 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, and Axiata (formerly Telekom Malaysia International) that have built a substantial presence around the region beyond their own domestic market through their shareholdings in operators in multiple other 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 in Asia as ranked by subscribers at the end of 2011. It is noted that of the region’s operators just 15 (those listed in the table) have a combined share approaching 70% of the total regional mobile market. This list has remained relatively stable over the last year or so with few changes to the leading group of operators.

Top 15 mobile operators in Asia (by subscribers) – 2010 - 2011

Rank

Operator

Country

Dec 2010

Dec 2011

Subscribers  (million)

1

China Mobile

China

584

667

2

China Unicom

China

167

197

3

Bharti

India

153

176

4

China Telecom

China

91

170

5

Reliance Comm’ns

India

126

150

6

Vodafone Essar

India

124

147

7

Telkomsel

Indonesia

94

108

8

Idea/ Spice

India

82

104

9

BSNL

India

87

96

10

Tata Teleservices

India

84

85

11

Viettel

Vietnam

60

68

12

NTT DoCoMo

Japan

57

59

13

Indosat

Indonesia

44

57

14

Smart Comm’ns

Philippines

46

48

15

PMCL

Pakistan

34

34

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

While the overall region growth rate about 19% in 2011, Table below highlights a selection of countries where growth rates reached over 25%. The markets in this table are typically the smaller developing economies that are finally seeing their respective growth surges as they reach the turning point on the ‘S-curve’. Although India is experiencing a similar growth surge at this stage, it is its own special case being such a huge market (population 1.2 billion) with the growth being driven by a sophisticated telecom regulatory regime on India’s economic growth. Macau is also an exception. It is noted that apart from India the other mobile market heavyweight, China, grew by 17% over this 12 month period.

Top growth markets in Asia – December 2011

Rank

Country

Subscribers (millions)

December 2011

Annual growth

(2010-2011)

1

North Korea

0.81

169%

2

Nepal

12.3

48%

3

Cambodia

12.2

47%

4

Myanmar

1.2

42%

5

East Timor

0.5

30%

6

Laos

3.9

29%

7

India

856.2

28%

8

Armenia

9.3

27%

9

Bangladesh

87.1

26%

10

Uzbekistan

24.0

26%

11

Macau

1.3

25%

12

Tajikistan

6.5

25%

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

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. One phenomenon in Asia has been the granting of a significant number of mobile operator licences in what have been regarded as smaller markets, ie with relatively low populations as well as low income per capita. We have seen this occur for example in Cambodia, Laos and Georgia, as well as Vietnam. Markets like these have started to go through some form of market rationalisation and this process will certainly continue into the future.

There are only a handful of countries that still cling to a single state-owned incumbent structure today. (North Korea and Myanmar) Typically in markets right across the region we see a number of operators competing on price, service quality, service offering and other competitive areas to win market share, build customer bases and establish healthy businesses. Of course this does not always go smoothly as operators try various strategies and test the regulations. We have seen markets like India where as already noted some rather complex licensing systems saw dozens of operators enter the market; this was followed by the necessary period of market rationalisation, which is generally agreed eventually produced a highly effective commercial environment. Similar processes have taken place in markets across the region.

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