Smartphone subscriptions in SE Asia to surpass 700M by 2019

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According to a new report from Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, there will be more than 700 million smartphone subscriptions in South East Asia and Oceania by 2019.

The findings from the Ericsson Global Mobility Report said the smartphone users in the region will constitute more than half of the expected 1.3 billion total mobile subscriptions worldwide.

Photo shows Elie Hana, president and country manager for Ericsson Philippines (right) and Eugene Sarmiento, head of media sales for Asia Pacific at Ericsson
Photo shows Elie Hana, president and country manager for Ericsson Philippines (right) and Eugene Sarmiento, head of media sales for Asia Pacific at Ericsson

Elie Hana, president and country manager for Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands, said in a recent press briefing in Makati City that today’s smartphone penetration ranges from around 20 percent for developing markets to more than 60 percent for advanced markets.

However, Hana said smartphone subscriptions are expected to grow about five times by 2019. Mobile data traffic, meanwhile, is projected to grow by more than 10 times between 2013 and 2019.

Hana identified youth culture, urbanization, and the rise of smartphones as the three key trends that are driving ICT growth in the region.

He said the region’s more than 170 million youth population, which is among the largest in the world, to be the reason behind the uptake of apps, smartphones, and mobile data services.

“Youth are active users of apps, especially messaging apps, and in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia nearly one-third of the population is aged 10-24,” Hana said.

The breakdown of smartphone ownership between youth and adults in the region are as follows:

? Australia – 77% Youth; 65% Adults

? Malaysia – 70% Youth: 63% Adults

? Singapore – 77% Youth ; 78% Adults

? Indonesia – 42% Youth; 31% Adults

? Philippines – 60% Youth; 53% Adults

? Thailand – 59 Youth; 36% Adults

The report also noted the smartphone is the primary device for Internet access in the countries mentioned.

Hana noted there is a need to create high performing networks to keep up with more complex user demands and support increasing mobile data consumption.

The report indicated that although 4G/LTE subscriptions are currently concentrated in developed markets, the developing markets will gain momentum in the next five years.

Mature ICT markets such as Australia and Singapore represent almost all of the 20 million LTE subscriptions that the region will have by the end of 2014.

Australia, closely followed by Singapore, is considered the best in class networks in the region based on median throughput network speeds.

By the end of 2019, as networks are deployed in more countries, LTE subscription growth is expected to reach around 230 million subscriptions, bringing LTE penetration for the region to around 20 percent.

The report likewise revealed that Indonesia, Thailand, and Bangladesh are among the top 5 highest net additions globally for mobile subscriptions in the first quarter 2014. ? Tom Noda

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