4G / LTE market share in Asia-Pacific: Who’ll shine in 2013?

Telecom Lead Asia: Several Asian countries are gearing up to take lead in the 4G / LTE market in 2013.

The main competition in the Asia Pacific region will be among Korea, Malaysia, China, Singapore, etc.

Considering the fact that India has just kicked off 4G launches, the world’s second largest mobile market will not be competing for the top 3 positions in the 4G / LTE market.

In Q4 2012, the LTE subscription in Asia Pacific has increased 60.92 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), reaching 34.6 million.

ABI Research expects that the LTE subscription market will grow in 2013 to reach 72.1 million.

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Mobile operators in South Korea have aggressively promoted LTE since launch.

SK Telecom, the largest operator in terms of subscriptions, gained 7 million LTE subscribers in 2012, and aims to secure 13 million in 2013. This means that 50 percent of its subscribers will be on LTE.

The strong growth trend of mobile subscription is expected to keep up until 2015, where it will surpass 100 percent.

In Q4 2012, Asia-Pacific notched up 3.45 billion subscriptions, up 8.7 percent year-on-year (YoY), resulting in a cellular penetration of 87.5 percent.

China Unicom, the second largest mobile operator in Asia-Pacific, has grown its mobile subscribers 22 percent YoY compared to Q4 2011 to 239 million.

China Telecom, which increased its subscriber base by 16.89 percent YoY, reaching 160 million, fueled by 3G tariffs and smartphones.

Smartphone penetration stood at 19.4 percent at the end of 2012, and is expected to approach 26.5 percent by year-end 2013.

Meanwhile, IHS said China Mobile is estimated to have spent $1.5 billion to build its two trial networks and deploy all those base stations. China Mobile will have 14 million 4G subscribers next year, compared to 4.3 million for China Unicom and 3.2 million for China Telecom.

The third fastest growing (15.44 percent) operator was Indonesia’s Telkomsel with 125 million.

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