In a regular series, Mobile World Live‘s Asia Editor Joseph Waring provides a regional roundup of news snippets:

LINE’s revenue doubles
Japan’s messaging application provider LINE said its total revenue more than doubled last year to JPY86.3 billion ($731 million) as its total number of monthly active users increased to 181 million.

Its core messaging business accounted for 90 per cent of revenue. The company reported strong user growth in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries, as well as in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Turkey now has more than 10 million users, bringing the total number of countries with more than 10 million users to 13.

The company said LINE was the top free communication app in Japan, Thailand and Taiwan in terms of user numbers.

MobiFone IPO set for mid-2016
MobiFone’s privatisation will be completed by mid-2016, Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said.

In December Son approved a measure to transform state-owned MobiFone into a private corporation. Its IPO plan will move ahead once it has the approval of the prime minister, VietNam News said.

MobiFone, Vietnam’s second largest operator with a 32 per cent market share, separated from VNPT, another state-owned operator, in June, and was required to submit an IPO plan by the end of last year.

A number of foreign operators, most recently Malaysia’s Axiata, have expressed internet in participating in MobiFone’s IPO.

3 Hong Kong launches carrier billing with Boku
Hong Kong mobile operator 3 is partnering with Boku to offer carrier billing, which enables customers to make purchases on their mobile devices using their phone numbers.

Smartphone penetration in the territory is nearly 90 per cent, and according to a study by Nielsen, more than a quarter of mobile users in Hong Kong participated in some form of m-commerce in the previous month.

Boku, which reaches more than four billion consumers in more than 70 countries, said that at checkout users choose an item they want to purchase, enter their mobile numbers, and confirm the purchase via text. Their items are then billed to their mobile accounts.

MediaTek moves to No 2 in LTE basebands
Taiwan’s MediaTek captured the number two spot in the LTE baseband market in Q3 last year, overtaking Marvell, thanks to strong growth in LTE.

The global baseband processor market grew 5 per cent year-on-year in Q3 to $5.5 billion, according to Strategy Analytics. Qualcomm continued to dominate the market with 64 per cent share, followed by MediaTek with 17 per cent share and Spreadtrum with a 6 per cent share. LTE basebands accounted for over 50 per cent of Qualcomm’s total baseband shipments during the period.

MediaTek also ranked number three in smartphone application processors in Q3 with a 15 per cent share, after Qualcomm (51 per cent) and Apple (19 per cent).

KT offers discounts on overseas calls
South Korea’s KT has introduced a monthly plan for its mobile customers that makes international calls to 10 countries cheaper.

The “001 Sharing” plan, which costs KRW5,000 ($4.56) per month, gives subscribers on KRW41,000 LTE plans 250 minutes of free domestic and international calls.

The plan doesn’t cover roaming from overseas.