Bharat Book Bureau

Asian Mobile Market Forecast 2012-2015

Among the Asian mobile markets, Korea and Japan by adopting 3G at an early stage, have been leading the region in terms of technology, and various kind of services providing diversified contents have been diffused within Asia. While the mobile subscriber numbers of Korea and Japan have been reaching saturation, the rest of the Asian countries are catching up to become the center of growth in Asia.

ROA Holdings has selected 10 countries in Asia that are assumed to show key movements in the near future. The total number of mobile subscribers in both China and India are currently occupying almost 75% of the rest of the 10 countries, and Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, as well as Vietnam are following them with a rapid growth rate.

It is estimated that the total number of global mobile subscribers will reach approximately 7 billion by 2015 and the proportion of Asia is expected to be 65% of the total, forming the most significant region among the world mobile markets.

The smartphone penetration rate in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam is quite high, since Symbian-based smartphones were commonly used before iPhone OS or Android phones were launched. In the Philippines and India, due to low GDP per capita as well as the popularity of web-enabled feature phones, the smartphone penetration rate appears lower compared to other Southeast Asian countries.

Regarding Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, these countries used to adopt quite sophisticated feature phones before iPhone or Android OS phones entered the market, however, recently the market share of iPhone and Android OS smartphones continues to increase rapidly, especially in Korea where the mobile carriers aggressively market 3G and 4G smartphones, supported by the local vendors Samsung, LGE and Pantech.

In 2008, the ARPU of India, Philippines and Vietnam used to be more than 5 USD, but continue to show a decreasing trend, and will reach the USD 3-4 level by 2015, following the declining ARPU pattern among the 10 Asian countries.

Concerning mobile penetration, India will experience a three-fold growth by 2015, and also China, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam will also see a significant increase in mobile subscribers. Mobile carriers in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan are focusing on strategies aiming at maintaining their subscribers since the CAGR of mobile subscribers in these countries is 5% or less, making it difficult to expand their subscriber bases in the future.

In terms of churn rate, Vietnam and Indonesia that offer mostly prepaid services have quite a high churn rate that surpasses 10 %. India, Philippines, China, and Malaysia are also depending on prepaid, but their churn rates are within the range of 3% to 6%, due to characteristics in each country and regulatory issues, such as mobile number portability. Singapore has an equal share of both prepaid and postpaid, forming a unique mobile market compared to the other Asian countries.

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