January 23, 2010
Asian – Mobile Data and the Wireless Broadband Market report ( http://www.bharatbook.com/detail.asp?id=129867&rt=Asian-Mobile-Data-and-the-Wireless-Broadband-Market.html ) provides an overview of the Mobile Data and Wireless Broadband Market segment across the various markets of Asia. Some 34 Asian countries are covered in the report. It is noted that the amount of information offered is obviously dependent on the relative size of the market in each of the respective countries. The coverage in the report also results in some segment overlap as we see increased convergence in the mobile data and wireless broadband markets.
Mobile data services in Asia
With some 1.9 billion Asians using mobile phones by June 2009, the region’s mobile markets offer huge potential for mobile data services.
The growth of wireless Internet in Asia is being driven by competition in the market place and by the advent of 3G and 3.5G services. Market competition has been driving handset prices and airtime tariffs downward, thus opening up mobile services to wider adoption. The rate of adoption of wireless Internet has started to rise with the overall increase in mobile penetration together with networks being progressively upgraded to next generation platforms. While 3G licensing and the ongoing launch of 3G services in Asia has certainly been promoting the growth of wireless data services, 3G has also been providing opportunities for both wireless access and content providers in domestic markets. In South Asia, in particular, more people own a mobile phone than a PC, giving the delivery of mobile data services huge potential there.
Mobile data is not a new phenomenon in Asia. Regional public networks based on Mobitex technology were established in Singapore, Indonesia and South Korea. Another form of mobile data, the DataTAC network, was made available in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, with network trials in South Korea, Japan and China. The DataTAC networks established in Asia were more extensive than the corresponding networks in either Europe or the US. An example of widespread adoption of a particular mobile data service has been the SMS capability of GSM and other digital cellular technologies. SMS, which allows the sending and receiving of basic text messages, became very popular throughout Asia, with remarkable growth being experienced in the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as in China.
The business plans of the majority of mobile operators have been built on the assumption that the key to further revenue growth lies in the ability to offer more Value-Added Services (VAS) and, in particular, access to the Internet. A number of technologies are competing for the region’s mobile Internet market. In Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and a number of other countries, in an effort to chase this market, offerings based on the Wireless Application Protocol standard were tried. Apart from South Korea, however, WAP failed to claim any significant share of the market. In Japan, by contrast, NTT DoCoMo launched its i-Mode service and its two rivals –SoftBank and KDDI – launched their own versions of i-Mode with dramatic success, with over 85% of mobile subscribers in Japan logging on from a mobile using one of these platforms. In fact, mobile subscribers (93 million) accessing the Internet surpass fixed line users (90 million). Another system that has supported mobile data, the GPRS, grew out of GSM. Labelled as a 2.5G technology, it has been adopted in a significant number of Asian markets.
Japan’s four main mobile operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI (au), Softbank Mobile and eMobile – plan to invest up to ¥1 trillion (US$10 billion) into so-called ‘3.9G’ mobile services, offering end users the prospect of even better and faster options than they have today. Known as 3.9G in Japan, the new networks will use frequencies in the 2,010MHz to 2,025MHz range for Long-term evolution technology. 3.9G performance is roughly comparable with fibre-optic networks and from 2010 a number of domestic carriers intend to utilise their existing 3G infrastructure, on which the providers spent ¥ 5 trillion, to keep 3.9G rollout costs to a minimum.
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