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Mobile subscribers in Pacific Asia to reach 3.1 billion by 2020 – GSMA

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Mobile appA new GSMA study says the number of mobile subscribers in Pacific Asia will hit 3.1 billion by the year 2020, and that is an increase of 600 million in four years.

The report titled, ‘The Mobile Economy: Asia Pacific 2016’, finds that 62 per cent of the Asia Pacific population was subscribed to a mobile service in 2015, forecast to rise to almost three-quarters of the population by 2020 as a further 600 million new subscribers are added over the period.

“It is calculated that mobile technologies and services made up 5.4 per cent of Asia Pacific’s GDP last year, equivalent to $1.3 trillion in economic value; this economic contribution is set to increase to $1.7 trillion by 2020,” it said.

The report indicates that Asia Pacific will account for 60 per cent of the one billion unique mobile subscribers that will be added to the global total by 2020, with the region continuing to add subscribers at a faster rate than the global average.

The four largest markets in the region – China, India, Indonesia and Japan – together accounted for more than three-quarters of the region’s total subscriber base. India alone is expected to add nearly 250 million new subscribers by 2020 but smaller countries in the region such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Pakistan will also make major contributions to subscriber growth, the report adds.

According to the report, mobile broadband (3G/4G) accounted for 45 per cent of total mobile connections in Asia Pacific last year, forecast to rise to 70 per cent by 2020 as operators continue to invest in 4G network build-outs and subscribers migrate to higher-speed networks.

“4G is on track to account for more than a third of total connections in Asia Pacific by 2020. At the end of 2015, the region had 76 live 4G-LTE networks and 20 live VoLTE networks,” it said.

The number of smartphone connections in Asia Pacific totaled 1.7 billion at the end of 2015, accounting for 45 per cent of regional connections. China, India and Indonesia have been the main drivers of smartphone growth, helping the region double its overall smartphone base over the last two years. The region will add a further 1.3 billion smartphone connections by 2020, reaching three billion, or two-thirds of the region’s total connections base by that point, the report said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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