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2016 Asia - Mobile Infrastructure

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Last updated: 24 Feb 2016 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 144

Lead Analyst: Peter Evans

Contributing Analyst: Phil Harpur

Publication Overview

This Asia market report covers 35 countries in North, South, South East and Central Asia. The theme of the report is mobile infrastructure and development.

The report covers developments in 3G, 4G, 5G and LTE and related government, regulatory and spectrum developments. It also updates on other mobile infrastructure developments such as 2G and mobile data infrastructure linked to that technology based on progress made in the various individual countries.

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, Timor Leste, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Current publication date: February 2016 (1st Edition)
Researchers:- Peter Evans, Phil Harpur

Executive Summary

Asia’s mobile markets shift rapidly to next gen services

Across Asia more than 3.8 billion mobile subscribers were being served by a large number of mobile networks heading into 2016. Whilst the overall growth rate in the region has moderated the sheer numbers remain impressive. Subscriber growth is seen to have eased to around 4%-5% per annum in recent years. Across the region many countries can claim subscriber penetrations of well over 150% by now. There has, however, been a shift away from the concentration by operators on simple subscriber growth. The emphasis has moved very much to next generation and value added services, with the operators busily upgrading networks, extending coverage and generally moving to improve service.

Not surprisingly the massive markets of China and India, with their huge populations, dominate the mobile market in Asia. By end-2015 these two countries alone accounted for over 35% and 27% overall market share in the Asia region respectively; in other words, a massive 62% combined.

Top 10 mobile markets in Asia – ranked by subscribers – 2012 and 2015

Country

2012

2015

China

1,112.1

1,350.0

India

864.7

1,000.0

Indonesia

281.2

325.0

Japan

141.1

158.0

Vietnam

131.7

142.0

Pakistan

120.1

143.0

Bangladesh

97.2

127.0

Philippines

102.0

120.0

Thailand

85.0

103.0

South Korea

53.6

59.0

(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Note: Figures in italics are estimates

A good example of the way in which next generation networks have been progressively reshaping the mobile markets across the region can be found in Singapore. By July 2015 the number of mobile subscribers stood at 8.1 million for a penetration of 152%; most significantly, of these subscribers 7.9 million were signed up to 3G or 4G services. That meant that just the 3G and 4G subscribers combined represented a population penetration already well in excess of 100% by that stage. In other words, Singapore had far more mobile broadband subscriptions than population.

Importantly, 4G/LTE already has a significant presence in the Singapore market. The three mobile operators all launched a form of 4G back in 2012 and have since been rapidly expanding their coverage at a rate that effectively saw a full national presence by end-2013. By mid-2015 the number of 4G services made up 46% of the total mobile subscriber base, already almost eclipsing the 51% held by 3G. Not surprisingly 2G services had virtually disappeared.

Singapore - mobile subscribers - 2G, 3G and 4G, prepaid and postpaid – July 2015

Category

Subscribers

Percentage of total subscriber base

2G subscriptions

 

 

Postpaid

179,900

2%

Prepaid

76,500

1%

Total 2G subscribers

256,400

3%

3G subscriptions

 

0%

Postpaid

2,726,700

33%

Prepaid

1,436,100

18%

Total 3G subscribers

4,162,800

51%

4G subscriptions

 

0%

Postpaid

3,259,100

40%

Prepaid

464,600

6%

Total 4G subscribers

3,723,700

46%

Total subscribers (2G+3G+4G)

8,142,900

100%

(Source: BuddeComm based on IDA data)

As the Asian mobile market continues to grow both in bulk subscriber numbers, next generation subscribers and value added services, it remains a market based largely on voice services for the time being. As already noted some markets in Asia have moved rapidly to mobile broadband and advanced data services but the predominant service in the majority of the region’s markets is mobile voice for the moment.

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