Categorized | Unified Communications

Half of the world’s mobile broadband subscribers are in Asia

Whether it be in fixed broadband or mobile broadband, Asia leads the world in broadband in the raw subscriber numbers. The region has a huge presence in the global broadband market. The available statistics and estimates indicate that by 2015 the region was not only leading the world mobile broadband market; it was claiming close to half of all the subscribers worldwide. And in the fixed broadband market the proportion of subscribers was over 45% by that stage.

It is not just in the sheer number of subscribers that the region is so commanding; it has also especially innovative in the development and application of broadband technologies. Innovation has not surprisingly been a characteristic of the developed economies of the region – South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong. There has been a clear determination to try new technologies early. This has a major ‘knock-on effect’ on the wider market and its adopting of these technologies.

In taking a total view of Asia one cannot overlook the massive presence of China. The region feels this presence in the sheer numbers – its huge population, growing economy and large numbers of broadband subscribers. Its impact on the region’s broadband market has been phenomenal; having achieved 50% household penetration in 2014, it is continuing to move further along the broadband path.

Asia has also been a leader with its extensive application of fibre infrastructure. FttP is not just option for fixed broadband access – in many Asian markets it is already the primary form of fixed broadband access. In Japan and South Korea, Fibre now claims over 50% of the high speed internet access connections, obviously pushing aside DSL in the process.

On the back of all this high-powered broadband capability, Asia has been energetically embracing the digital economy and digital media in their many shapes forms. Again the region can claim some sort of global leadership role in this regard, with some striking examples of creativity and innovation that has been copied worldwide. South Korea, for example, has been ranking first in the United Nations Global E-Government Survey; as a consequence the country’s prize winning e-government system has served as a model for other countries planning to establish their e-government systems. Progress on the application of the digital economy across the region has been patchy, however. Not surprisingly, the developing markets in Asia have found it much more difficult to apply e-commerce in their less sophisticated economies with considerably lower disposable income.

In the meantime, the developed markets of Asia have positioned themselves well to exploit mobile data opportunities and are racing ahead with numerous mobile applications. As service improves and as content providers offer more and more, exponential growth in data usage is occurring in these key Asian markets. Hong Kong is a classic example, where increased adoption and consumption of mobile music and video streaming services was driving the market.

Peter Evans and Paul Kwon Senior Analysts BuddeComm

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