2018 Asia - Mobile Network Operators and MVNOs

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Last updated: 26 Apr 2018 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 340

Analyst: Phil Harpur

Publication Overview

This market report provides a comprehensive overview of the mobile network operator and MVNO telecom market across the various economies of Asia. The list of operators ranges from the giant China Mobile with more than 860 million subscribers right through to a number of much smaller operators with only a few thousand subscribers each. And of course there are the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

Researcher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- April 2018 (14th Edition)

Executive Summary

Asia's mobile market heads further towards saturation as developing nations grow strongly

The telecom market across Asia has grown strongly over the past few years. The overall mobile penetration rate on average across the entire Asian region reached over 102% going into 2018, up from 83% back in 2012.

Whilst there are still developing markets continuing to grow their mobile subscriber base at moderate to high annual rates, there are in fact few countries left in Asia with significantly underdeveloped mobile markets and low mobile penetration rates.

The strong growth in the Asia market, is due to continued mobile subscriber growth in emerging markets including Bhutan, Laos, Indonesia, Nepal, North Korea, and in particular India. In contrast developed and mature markets such as Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore have seen very low growth.

Total market growth will continue to ease off over the next five years as the remaining mobile markets now head toward saturation and their mobile subscriber growth rates decrease.  This has occurred in the more mature markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.

While domestic mobile operators account for the vast majority of all mobile operators across Asia, international mobile operators are highly active across this vast region. There are 16 international mobile network operators operating within the Asian region across 21 of the 34 Asian countries.

Asia has a smaller but fast growing MNVO market. Hong Kong in particular is a very active in this area.

This BuddeComm annual publication provides a country level analysis of the 34 mobile markets across Asia. It includes information on each countries’ mobile market, key mobile market statistics and information on the major operators and trends. It also includes mobile subscriber data for the major international and domestic operators.

Asia is arguably the world’s most diverse region with regards to its telecoms industry. The region contains a vast array of countries, ranging from those with highly mature and advanced telecommunications markets, that are world leaders in the rollout of fibre broadband and in the move towards 5G, such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, to some of the poorest and least developed countries such as North Korea and Afghanistan.

A number of countries with large populations have attracted considerable investment from both vendors and operators. Over the past decade throughout Asia, we have seen a transition to new generation mobile platforms. As 3G reached saturation point, 4G networks were launched and progressively expanded. In the more developed markets over the past decade, growth shifted away from a focus on subscriber numbers towards the expansion of new generation platforms and increased data usage driven by value-added services and increased ARPUs. A similar trend is now following the market challenger and developing market segments.

The Buddecomm Telecoms Maturity Index, has been devised as a tool to easily and uniformly compare these different markets. BuddeComm’s “Asian Telecoms Maturity Index”, is an index (on a scale between 0 and 100) that measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industry in all of the 34 countries in Asia. This report provides a comprehensive comparison of the 34 Asian markets according to a number of parameters such as fixed broadband and mobile broadband.

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