Mobile Broadband Penetration in Asia

By Paul Budde
Paul Budde

The advent of mobile broadband triggered a huge change in broadband access across Asia. Following more than a decade of strong growth in almost all mobile markets in the region, an amazing transition to new generation mobile networks and services took place. By end 2014 there were a total of 1.2 billion mobile subscribers and with annual growth running at over 40% coming into 2015 the numbers were expected to hit 1.7 billion by end-2015. As already noted, this represents around 50% of the total global mobile broadband subscriber base.

The key factor underpinning this huge array of networks and services across Asia is the increasing capability of networks and operators to efficiently manage data; this capacity is in turn matched by an enthusiasm in the various Asian telecom markets for the rapid uptake of all that is on offer. The adoption rate of mobile broadband has increased sharply in company with the various regional networks being progressively upgraded to next generation status. At the same time, operators are also busy providing more intense coverage and capacity. And we should not ignore the handset in all this. The greater availability of smartphones, tablets and other similar devices is helping drive the adoption rate of mobile broadband.

Mobile data usage

Since the introduction of 3G+ and 4G/LTE across the markets of Asia and the world, mobile data usage has started to skyrocket. In Hong Kong, for example, on average each 2.5G and 3G/4G subscriber was sending over 1,000Mbytes per month by January 2015. By end-2014, the total data usage in Hong Kong had increased almost ten times in just five years, driven by increased adoption and consumption of a wide range of mobile data services. As the market shifted dramatically, not surprisingly, leading mobile operators in Asia had stopped offering unlimited mobile data plans.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication. Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

Related topics: Broadband, Mobile Internet, Networks, Wireless