GSMA: China, India at the forefront of Asia-Pacific mobile revolution

Visvaksen P Shanghai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on July 15, 2015


Asia-Pacific region accounts for half of mobile connections in the world

About half of the world's population will be connected through mobile phones by 2020, according to Anne Bouverot, Director-General of GSMA.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai on the future of mobility, she revealed that the Asia Pacific region, despite having lower than average mobile penetration, accounts for half of the world market with around 3.8 billion connections out of a global total of 7.5 billion connections.

“South Korea and Japan lead the world in Long-Term Evolution (LTE) usage and penetration,” she said. “And future growth will come from India and China.”

India, which recently crossed the one billion telecom subscriber mark, could soon witness an expansion in internet penetration, according to Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director of Idea Cellular. Kapania said the completion of India’s 4G spectrum auctions and the recent roll-out of the Digital India programme could translate to one billion digital users in the near future.

India’s internet population is growing 37 per cent annually and of its 267 million internet users, 250 million are mobile. Kapania indicated that e-commerce and financial services would be the major drivers for growth. Only around 30 per cent of Indians have a bank account.

John Frederick Baxas, CEO Telenor and Chairman GSMA, illustrated Kapania’s statement by providing the example of Pakistan. Several mobile operators in that country have implemented financial services that are interoperable even with traditional banks. This was achieved, in Baxas' view, due in large part to help from the regulatory framework.

“The contribution of the telecom industry to the UN’s Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) set 15 years ago is very clear,” said Baxas. “This industry can make sure that the UN’s next sustainable development goals can be reached just like it helped with MDGs. Digital will underpin and underscore the world's ability to move in the right direction.”

Mobile connectivity

Speaking about the future of mobile connectivity, Xi Guohua, Chairman of China Mobile, said the internet would soon connect every object and create a new ecology.

Revealing that data traffic was set to increase 300 times by 2025, Guohua said, “In the past, internet was used just for information consumption. Now, we are entering into the internet of industry which is broader than just consumption.”

China Mobile, which recently rolled out a 4G network comprising 900,000 base stations in a single year, is a key proponent of the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity.

The writer is in Shanghai at the invitation of Intex

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Published on July 15, 2015
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