New Study: Mobile Broadband in Southeast Asia: Adoption and Usage Trends and Operator Strategy

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Thu Jan 14 2016

Mobile broadband traffic will grow rapidly in continental SE Asia, driven by the expansion of 3G and 4G networks and the proliferation of cheap smartphones; the fastest growth will come in the less developed markets. The region's 3G markets have had time to mature prior to the 4G launches, but 2G networks will give way to 3G and 4G over the next five years: we expect combined 3G and 4G subscriptions to make up 88% of the regional total by 2020. Mobile data usage per 4G subscription is substantially higher than that of 3G subscriptions, and we expect average data usage per subscription to grow at annual rates of 20-40% over the next five years. Operators will rely on additional spectrum for rural expansion and capacity buildouts. Common approaches to driving mobile broadband adoption include data-centric bundles, zero-rated OTT apps and discounting of high-volume data plans. OTT services and social media are also important.

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Key Findings

* Continental Southeast Asia is a highly penetrated mobile region, with overall subscriptions surpassing 128% of the population in 2015. Pyramid Research expects mobile subscriptions to grow at a CAGR of 2.4% from 2015 to 2020, pushing the penetration rate to 139%. LTE will grow at a 54% CAGR over the period.
* The vast majority of subscriptions will be on 3G or 4G networks by 2020. Overall, 3G will make up 71% of all subscriptions, 4G 17% and 2G 12%.
* The region has an estimated 142m mobile broadband subscriptions at year-end 2015, and we expect that number to grow at a 14.3% CAGR to 292m in 2020, driven mainly by smartphone adoption and 3G and 4G network expansion. Annual mobile data traffic will total 1,747PB in 2015, increasing to 10,799PB in 2020. We expect average monthly data usage per user to climb from 1,236MB to 3,579MB over the same period.
* Operators in continental SE Asia are focusing on urban centers for their initial mobile broadband network deployments but for rural expansion and capacity buildout will rely on additional spectrum, particularly in lower frequencies.
* As revenue from voice declines, operators are turning to multiple service pricing and positioning strategies to drive data adoption and usage, including OTT partnerships, discounting of bulk data, bundling and smartphone promotions.


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