New Delhi: Mobile connections in the Asia Pacific region will reach three-billion mark in the first quarter of 2012, as operators are investing heavily for growth of their businesses, an industry report has said.
Globally, the mobile connections are expected to reach the six-billion milestone by the end of November.
According to the GSM Association (GSMA) Asia Pacific Mobile Observatory 2011 report, mobile penetration in Asia Pacific (APAC) region, including India, will reach a landmark of three billion connections in the first quarter of 2012.
File photo of mobile users. Harikrishna Katragadda/Mint
This milestone would be reached two years earlier than the previous projection made by the GSMA in 2009.
GSMA further said in its latest report that the APAC region was expected to achieve 4.1 billion connections by 2015, growing at twice the rate of Europe and North America, and will account for 40% of mobile data traffic worldwide.
“Asia Pacific is one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile markets, through an impressive combination of investment and innovation.
“China alone currently has 940 million total mobile connections, exceeding the total number of connections in Europe and the US combined,” Tom Phillips, chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer at GSMA said.
The extensive growth in penetration of mobile services in Asia Pacific region jumped from just 12% in 2002 to 78% in 2011.
The report said that the growth is largely being driven by the fact that mobile operators in the region’s major markets were investing an average of 16.3% of revenues into capital expenditure, significantly higher than their counterparts in other parts of the world.
The growth is also being driven by factors like cost effective pre-paid services, low-cost handsets, innovative business models and limited fixed phone infrastructure.
The two largest countries in the region, India and China, have penetration rates of just over 60%, which means that approximately one billion people in these two countries alone are still without a mobile connection, GSMA said.
The report said that a more balanced regulatory framework and strategic public-private partnerships would have a significant impact in decreasing the costs of handsets and increasing the availability of cost-effective services.
It also suggested that mobile industry taxes in Asia Pacific should be reduced in order to drive mobile penetration and also boost the total tax revenues for governments.
The Asia-Pacific region is comprised of 17 countries such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, Philippines, India, Thailand, Pakistan and Bangladesh.