Telecom Lead Asia: Despite the explosive growth of mobile networks, fixed telecom infrastructure remained an important component in the overall development of the Asia’s telecom sector, according to the latest report available at Reportlinker.com.
There were around 580 million fixed-line subscribers in Asia in 2012, while there were close to 3 billion mobile subscribers during the period. The fixed-line numbers have been increasing only marginally in recent years, with a significant number of countries in Asia starting to see a decline in fixed-line numbers, the report said.
Asian telecom sector has got boost with private sector investment. Governments have also realized that private sector investment could not rely on local investment alone, and would inevitably mean a substantial level of foreign investment. Of course, despite this recognition, there has inevitably been some resistance within governments to opening up the telecom sector to foreign investors and as a consequence the level of ‘encouragement’ has been variable.
The changing face of telecom market in Asia has also affected the investment in telecom infrastructure. With shifting revenue patterns across the market segments and falling ARPUs on many services, operators have been more selective about what they actually invest in. Telecom operators throughout Asia have been increasing investment levels on the back of carefully considered investment strategies.
The initial round of substantial investment in telecom infrastructure in Asia was in fixed telephone networks. These fixed networks were in time followed by the building of mobile networks. In many of the developing nations of the region, the building of fixed-line infrastructure was not far advanced before it was overwhelmed by the introduction of mobile infrastructure. This resulted in ‘substitution’ wherein mobile services platforms started performing the function of non-existent fixed services.
Recently there has been a major push to upgrade domestic telecoms networks to Next Generation Networks (NGNs). This process is seeing large scale investment by Asia’s leading telecoms markets in new-generation IP-based telecommunications networks. There is also surge in infrastructure building as mostly developed economies roll out National Broadband Networks (NBNs).
These networks come in various ‘shapes and sizes’ as governments work with operators to tackle the strategic challenge of delivering high speed to the nation. Not surprisingly the NBNs rely heavily upon fiber; in some cases it is Fiber to the Premises (FttP), while in others it might be Fiber to the Node (FttN). And the cost varies accordingly. Those countries that have government backing for NBN roll-out are the ones that are setting the pace.
International connectivity remains central to the overall effectiveness of the region’s telecommunications services. Submarine cable routes criss-cross the Asia Pacific area, providing both intra-regional and inter-regional networks. This sector of the market has been characterized by widely fluctuating supply and demand, which in turn has seen somewhat erratic investment strategies. .
Another trend in Asian telecom sector is the boom in IP-based services, driven in the short term by voice, but in the longer term by data. The volume of international Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic into and out of Asia having increased at a rapid rate at the expense of the traditional International Direct Dial (IDD) traffic.