LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI 2017: The Asia-Pacific region is forecast to account for two-thirds of the world’s mobile subscriber growth by the end of 2020, led by rapid increases in China and India, bringing the number of unique users in the area to 3.1 billion.
According to new figures from GSMA Intelligence, almost half of the world’s 753 million new subscribers expected by the end of 2020 will be located in India and China – with 206 million and 155 million new users respectively.
The latest version of the GSMA Mobile Economy: Asia Pacific report, published today, tipped the Asia-Pacific region to drive growth as unique subscriber numbers rise from 2.7 billion in 2016 to 3.1 billion in 2020.
This increase will boost mobile penetration in the region from a reported 66 per cent of the population last year to 75 per cent in 2020.
During 2016 more than half of the region’s users had access to 3G or 4G technology. This figure is expected to continue to rise, with 5G technology advancing rapidly in developed markets.
“Led by India and China, Asia’s mobile industry will be the main engine of global subscriber growth for the remainder of the decade, connecting almost half a billion new customers across the region by 2020,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA.
“We are also seeing a dramatic shift to mobile broadband networks, particularly 4G, which is providing a platform for a rich range of innovative new services across both developed and emerging markets in the region. Meanwhile, advanced operators in Asia are set to become among the first in the world to launch commercial 5G networks before the end of the decade,” Granryd added.
In the wide-ranging report, GSMA analysts estimated mobile technologies and associated services contributed $1.3 trillion in “economic value” to the region in 2016 – accounting for 5.2 per cent of regional GDP. This is expected to rise to $1.6 trillion in 2020 – equivalent to 5.4 per cent of GDP.
Although the report found strong growth in the region, it also highlighted the wide variations within the market.
The Asia-Pacific area boasts four of the world’s most penetrated markets – Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan – but also some of the lowest as North Korea and some Pacific Islands lag well behind the global average.