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Asia - Mobile Infrastructure

  • February 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 144 pages

Asia’s mobile markets shift rapidly to next gen services
Across Asia more than 3.8 billion mobile subscribers were being served by a large number of mobile networks heading into 2016. Whilst the overall growth rate in the region has moderated the sheer numbers remain impressive. Subscriber growth is seen to have eased to around 4%-5% per annum in recent years. Across the region many countries can claim subscriber penetrations of well over 150% by now. There has, however, been a shift away from the concentration by operators on simple subscriber growth. The emphasis has moved very much to next generation and value added services, with the operators busily upgrading networks, extending coverage and generally moving to improve service.

Not surprisingly the massive markets of China and India, with their huge populations, dominate the mobile market in Asia. By end-2015 these two countries alone accounted for over 35% and 27% overall market share in the Asia region respectively; in other words, a massive 62% combined.

Top 10 mobile markets in Asia – ranked by subscribers – 2012 and 2015
Country | 2012 | 2015
China | 1,112.1 | 1,350.0
India | 864.7 | 1,000.0
Indonesia | 281.2 | 325.0
Japan | 141.1 | 158.0
Vietnam | 131.7 | 142.0
Pakistan | 120.1 | 143.0
Bangladesh | 97.2 | 127.0
Philippines | 102.0 | 120.0
Thailand | 85.0 | 103.0
South Korea | 53.6 | 59.0
(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)
Note: Figures in italics are estimates

A good example of the way in which next generation networks have been progressively reshaping the mobile markets across the region can be found in Singapore. By July 2015 the number of mobile subscribers stood at 8.1 million for a penetration of 152%; most significantly, of these subscribers 7.9 million were signed up to 3G or 4G services. That meant that just the 3G and 4G subscribers combined represented a population penetration already well in excess of 100% by that stage. In other words, Singapore had far more mobile broadband subscriptions than population.

Importantly, 4G/LTE already has a significant presence in the Singapore market. The three mobile operators all launched a form of 4G back in 2012 and have since been rapidly expanding their coverage at a rate that effectively saw a full national presence by end-2013. By mid-2015 the number of 4G services made up 46% of the total mobile subscriber base, already almost eclipsing the 51% held by 3G. Not surprisingly 2G services had virtually disappeared.

Singapore - mobile subscribers - 2G, 3G and 4G, prepaid and postpaid – July 2015
Category | Subscribers | Percentage of total subscriber base
2G subscriptions | |
Postpaid | 179,900 | 2%
Prepaid | 76,500 | 1%
Total 2G subscribers | 256,400 | 3%
3G subscriptions | | 0%
Postpaid | 2,726,700 | 33%
Prepaid | 1,436,100 | 18%
Total 3G subscribers | 4,162,800 | 51%
4G subscriptions | | 0%
Postpaid | 3,259,100 | 40%
Prepaid | 464,600 | 6%
Total 4G subscribers | 3,723,700 | 46%
Total subscribers (2G+3G+4G) | 8,142,900 | 100%
(Source: BuddeComm based on IDA data)

As the Asian mobile market continues to grow both in bulk subscriber numbers, next generation subscribers and value added services, it remains a market based largely on voice services for the time being. As already noted some markets in Asia have moved rapidly to mobile broadband and advanced data services but the predominant service in the majority of the region’s markets is mobile voice for the moment.

Table Of Contents

Asia - Mobile Infrastructure
1. Afghanistan
1.1 Introduction
1.2 General statistics
1.3 Third Generation (3G)
1.3.1 Overview
1.3.2 Background
1.3.3 Bidding process
1.3.4 Licensing
1.3.5 Service launches
1.4 4G / LTE
1.4.1 Overview
1.4.2 Etisalat's misleading' 4G claim
2. Armenia
2.1 General Statistics
2.2 3G
2.3 4G / LTE
3. Azerbaijan
3.1 General Statistics
3.2 Trunk Mobile Radio (TMR)
3.3 Third Generation (3G) services
3.3.1 Licensing process
3.3.2 Network launch
3.3.3 Additional licences
3.4 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
3.5 Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)
4. Bangladesh
4.1 Overview of Bangladesh's mobile market
4.2 General statistics
5. Bhutan
5.1 General Statistics
5.2 4G / LTE mobile services
6. Brunei Darussalam
6.1 Overview of Brunei's mobile market
6.2 General Statistics
7. Cambodia
7.1 Overview of Cambodia's mobile market
7.2 General statistics
8. China
8.1 General statistics
8.2 Digital networks
8.2.1 PAS/PHS (Little Smart/Xiaolingtong)
8.2.2 GSM
8.2.3 CDMA
8.2.4 Third Generation (3G) mobile
8.2.5 Fourth Generation (4G) mobile
8.3 Other infrastructure developments
8.3.1 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
8.3.2 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
8.3.3 Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
8.3.4 Pre-5G
8.3.5 NFC
8.3.6 Tower Sharing Joint Venture
8.4 IoT and M2M networks
8.4.1 China Mobile
8.4.2 China Telecom
8.4.3 China Unicom
9. Georgia
9.1 General Statistics
9.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
9.2.1 Background and licensing
9.2.2 3G mobile statistics
9.3 4G / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
10. Hong Kong
10.1 General statistics
10.1.1 3G/4G statistics
10.2 Analogue networks
10.3 Digital networks
10.3.1 GSM, 3G, 4G, 5G
10.3.2 GSM/2G
10.3.3 Personal communications services (PCS)/2G
10.3.4 3G and High-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA)
10.3.5 CDMA
10.3.6 CDMA2000
10.3.7 LTE (Long-term evolution)/4G
10.3.8 Hutchison Telekom (3)
10.4 Other infrastructure developments
10.4.1 GPRS
10.4.2 EDGE
10.4.3 Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
10.5 IoT and M2M Networks
11. India
11.1 General statistics
11.2 Overview
11.3 GSM
11.4 CDMA
11.4.1 Overview
11.4.2 CDMA auction March 2013
11.5 Third Generation (3G) mobile
11.5.1 Background
11.5.2 Licensing process
11.5.3 Spectrum allocation
11.5.4 Auction procedure
11.5.5 Auction
11.5.6 BSNL and MTNL
11.5.7 Start of the roll-outs
11.5.8 Developments
11.5.9 3G roaming dispute - resolution
11.6 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
11.6.1 Overview
11.6.2 Background
11.6.3 Reliance Jio Infocomm
11.6.4 Bharti Airtel
11.6.5 Vodafone
11.6.6 Idea Cellular
11.6.7 BSNL
11.7 Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE)
12. Indonesia
12.1 General statistics
12.2 Digital networks
12.2.1 3G
12.2.2 4G/ LTE
12.3 Other infrastructure developments
12.3.1 WLL
12.4 IoT and M2M networks
12.4.1 M2M
13. Japan
13.1 General statistics
13.2 Digital networks
13.2.1 PDC
13.2.2 CDMA
13.2.3 PHS
13.2.4 3G
13.2.5 LTE
13.2.6 LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)
13.3 Other infrastructure developments
13.3.1 VoLTE
13.3.2 NTT DoCoMo's i-mode
13.4 IoT and M2M Networks
14. Kazakhstan
14.1 General statistics
14.2 Third Generation (3G)
14.3 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
15. Kyrgyzstan
15.1 Overview
15.2 General statistics
16. Laos
16.1 General statistics
16.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile services
16.3 Long Term Evolution (LTE) / 4G services
17. Macau
17.1 General statistics
17.2 Analogue Networks
17.3 GSM
17.4 WCDMA
17.5 LTE 4G
17.6 Push-to-Talk (PTT)
18. Malaysia
18.1 General statistics
18.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
18.2.1 Service launch
18.3 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
18.4 Fifth Generation (5G) Network Developments
19. Maldives
19.1 General statistics
19.2 3G
19.3 4G/LTE
20. Mongolia
20.1 Overview
20.2 General statistics
20.3 3G Services
21. Myanmar
21.1 Overview
21.2 General statistics
21.3 3G development
21.4 4G development
22. Nepal
22.1 General statistics
22.2 Third Generation (3G)
22.3 Fourth Generation (4G) / LTE
22.4 Satellite mobile
23. North Korea
23.1 General statistics
23.2 3G
24. Pakistan
24.1 General statistics
24.2 Third Generation (3G) licences
24.2.1 Background
24.2.2 Auction April 2014
24.2.3 Licensing
24.2.4 Launch
24.3 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
24.3.1 Licensing
24.3.2 Launches
24.3.3 Proposed second 3G/4G auction
25. Philippines
25.1 General statistics
25.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
25.2.1 Background
25.2.2 Issuing of 3G licences
25.2.3 Dispute over 3G licensing
25.2.4 Rollout of 3G networks
25.2.5 High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) networks
25.2.6 Issuing of fifth 3G licence
25.2.7 Further 3G auction
25.2.8 Challenges to spectrum ownership
25.3 Long Term Evolution (LTE) / Fourth Generation (4G) networks
25.3.1 Background
25.3.2 Launch of services
25.3.3 Expansion and developments
26. Singapore
26.1 General statistics
26.2 Digital networks
26.2.1 GSM
26.2.2 3G
26.2.3 4G
26.2.4 5G
26.3 Other infrastructure developments
26.3.1 VoLTE
26.3.2 Satellite mobile
27. South Korea
27.1 General statistics
27.2 Analogue (AMPS)
27.3 Personal Communication Service (PCS)
27.4 Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
27.5 Wideband CDMA (WCDMA)
27.6 LTE
27.7 Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
27.8 LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)
28. Sri Lanka
28.1 General statistics
28.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
28.2.1 Background
28.2.2 Licences and service launch
28.2.3 Development of 3G
28.3 Fourth Generation (4G) / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
28.4 Satellite mobile
28.4.1 MTN Networks
29. Taiwan
29.1 General statistics
29.2 Brief intro analogue networks
29.3 Digital networks
29.4 Personal Handyphone Service (PHS)
29.5 3G
29.5.1 Background
29.6 LTE
30. Tajikistan
30.1 General statistics
30.2 3G
30.3 4G / Long Term Evolution (LTE) services
31. Thailand
31.1 General statistics
31.2 Analogue Networks
31.2.1 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
31.3 Digital networks
31.3.1 3G
31.3.2 4G / LTE
31.4 Other infrastructure developments
32. Timor Leste
32.1 Overview of Timor-Leste's mobile market
32.2 General statistics
33. Turkmenistan
33.1 Overview
33.2 General statistics
34. Uzbekistan
34.1 General statistics
34.2 3G
34.3 4G / LTE
35. Vietnam
35.1 General statistics
35.2 Digital networks
35.2.1 GSM and CDMA
35.2.2 3G
35.2.3 4G / LTE
35.3 Other infrastructure developments
35.3.1 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
35.3.2 EDGE
Table 1 Afghanistan - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2002 - 2015
Table 2 Afghanistan - 3G mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2013 - 2015
Table 3 Armenia - Mobile subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 4 Azerbaijan - Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration 2005 - 2015
Table 5 Bangladesh - Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 6 Bhutan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2010 - 2015
Table 7 Brunei Darussalam - Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 8 Cambodia - Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration 1993 - 2015
Table 9 China - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2004 - 2016
Table 10 China - Little Smart (PHS) subscribers 2002 - 2012
Table 11 Georgia - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2014
Table 12 Georgia - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Table 13 Georgia - 3G mobile subscribers and market share 2008 - 2012
Table 14 Hong Kong - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2016
Table 15 Hong Kong - Smartphone penetration by age group 2014
Table 16 Hong Kong - 3G/4G mobile subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 17 Overview of India's mobile market 2012 - 2015
Table 18 India - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2015
Table 19 India - Mobile subscribers (GSM and CDMA) 2002 - 2015
Table 20 India - GSM mobile subscribers and annual change 1997 - 2015
Table 21 India - Mobile penetration in urban and rural areas 2007; 2009 - 2015
Table 22 India - GSM mobile subscribers by region/circle 2012 2014
Table 23 India - CDMA mobile operators, subscribers and market share 2014
Table 24 India - 3G auction (2010): Number of licences and total fees paid by operators
Table 25 Indonesia - Mobile subscribers 2004 - 2015
Table 26 Indonesia - Historical 3G mobile operators and subscribers 2013
Table 27 Indonesia - Fixed-wireless (WLL) subscribers 2003; 2007 - 2015
Table 28 Indonesia - Fixed-wireless (WLL) subscribers by operator 2013 - 2015
Table 29 Japan - Mobile subscriber, annual change and penetration rate 2004 - 2015
Table 30 Kazakhstan - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2004 - 2015
Table 31 Kyrgyzstan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate 2004 - 2015
Table 32 Laos - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2015
Table 33 Laos - 3G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2014
Table 34 Macau - Mobile subscribers total and prepaid and penetration rate 2004 2016
Table 35 Malaysia - Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration rate 2006 - 2015
Table 36 Malaysia - 3G mobile subscribers and market share 2006 - 2009; 2012 - 2013
Table 37 Maldives - Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 38 Mongolia - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2007 - 2017
Table 39 Mongolia - 3G subscribers 2009 - 2015
Table 40 Myanmar - Mobile subscribers, penetration and annual change 2006 - 2015
Table 41 Nepal - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate 2004 - 2015
Table 42 North Korea - mobile subscribers 2003; 2008 2017
Table 43 Pakistan - Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 44 Pakistan - 3G mobile subscribers 2015
Table 45 Philippines - Total mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Table 46 Singapore - Mobile subscribers 2004 - 2015
Table 47 South Korea - Mobile subscribers 2004 - 2016
Table 48 South Korea - CDMA mobile subscribers by operator 2002 - 2013
Table 49 South Korea - WCDMA subscribers by operator June 2013
Table 50 South Korea - LTE mobile subscribers by operator 2011 2014
Table 51 Sri Lanka - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2015
Table 52 Sri Lanka - 3G mobile operators and subscribers 2009; 2013
Table 53 Taiwan - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2004 - 2016
Table 54 Taiwan Mobile subscriber growth by technology (PHS, 2G, 3G, LTE) 2003 2016
Table 55 Tajikistan - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2004 - 2015
Table 56 Tajikistan - Historical 3G mobile subscribers by operator 2009
Table 57 Thailand - Mobile subscribers, penetration and annual growth 2004 - 2015
Table 58 Timor Leste - Mobile subscribers 2004 - 2015
Table 59 Turkmenistan - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2003 - 2015
Table 60 Uzbekistan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate 2006 - 2015
Table 61 Vietnam - Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 62 Vietnam - Mobile subscribers 2011 - 2015
Table 63 Vietnam - Total 3G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 64 Vietnam - Total 3G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Chart 1 - Afghanistan - Mobile subscribers and annual change - 2005 - 2015
Chart 2 - Armenia - Mobile subscribers, annual growth and penetration - 2005 - 2015
Chart 3 - Azerbaijan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2005 2015
Chart 4 Bangladesh - mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2006 - 2015
Chart 5 - Bhutan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2006-2015
Chart 6 - Brunei Darussalam - Mobile subscribers - 2006 2015
Chart 7- Cambodia - Mobile market subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2015
Chart 8 China - Mobile market subscribers, Population Penetration, Annual Change 2006 - 2016
Chart 9 - Georgia - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 2015
Chart 10 - Georgia - 3G mobile subscribers market share - 2008 2012
Chart 11 Hong Kong - mobile subscriber and penetration 2006 - 2015
Chart 12 Hong Kong - 3G/4G mobile subscribers 2005 - 2014
Chart 13 - India - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2006 - 2015
Chart 14 - India - Mobile subscribers (GSM and CDMA) - 2002-2015
Chart 15 - India - GSM mobile subscribers and annual change - 2005-2015
Chart 16 - India - Mobile penetration urban and rural - 2007; 2009-2015
Chart 17 - Indonesia - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2007 - 2015
Chart 18 Japan - mobile subscriber growth and population penetration 1995 - 2015
Chart 19 - Kazakhstan Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2000-2015
Chart 20 - Laos - Mobile subscribers and annual change - 2006 - 2015
Chart 21 - Malaysia - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2006 2015
Chart 22 - Malaysia - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2006-2013
Chart 23 - Maldives - Mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2015
Chart 24 - Myanmar - Mobile subscribers and annual change - 2006 - 2015
Chart 25 Nepal - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2006-2015
Chart 26 - North Korea - mobile subscribers and penetration - 2008 - 2017
Chart 27 - Pakistan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2006-2015
Chart 28 - Philippines - Total mobile subscribers and annual growth - 2005 2015
Chart 29 - Singapore - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005-2015
Chart 30 South Korea - mobile subscriber growth, population penetration 2000 - 2014
Chart 31 - Sri Lanka - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2006 2015
Chart 32 Taiwan - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2000 - 2016
Chart 33 Taiwan - Mobile subscribers by technology (PHS, 2G, 3G, LTE) 2003 - 2016
Chart 34 - Tajikistan - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration 2004 - 2015
Chart 35 Thailand - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2002 - 2015
Chart 36 - Turkmenistan - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2006 - 2015
Chart 37 Uzbekistan - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2006 - 2015
Chart 38 Vietnam - Mobile subscribers and annual change 2005 - 2015
Exhibit 1 Awarding of 3G licences by operator and date 2012 - 2014
Exhibit 2 Launch of 3G services by operator and date 2012 - 2015
Exhibit 3 CDMA 3G commercial deployment in India
Exhibit 4 India - 3G auction results: Service area licences by operator 2010
Exhibit 5 Singapore - Third Generation (3G) licensees, spectrum and vendors

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