Total mobile connections in Asia Pacific stood at 3.7 billion in Q1 2015. 4G accounted for 9 percent of connections and will grow to a third of the total by 2020, said GSMA.
South Korea and Japan lead the world in 4G adoption. India, Indonesia and Pakistan are early adopters of 4G. In Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam, 4G licensing has yet to take place.
The telecom industry association released the telecom analysis report as part of the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2015.
Migration to 4G networks and services in markets such as China is occurring at a faster rate than was the case in developed regions such as Europe and North America. China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom are the key telecom operators in 4G space in China.
Smartphones now account for 40 percent of connections in the Asia Pacific region and are set to account for two-thirds of the total by the end of the decade.
At the end of the first quarter of 2015, there were 1.8 billion unique mobile subscribers in Asia Pacific, representing 45 per cent of the region’s population.
Four markets in the region – in order of size, China, India, Indonesia and Japan – account for over three-quarters of the region’s subscriber base.
Many of the largest markets in the region are still relatively underpenetrated.
India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have a combined population of over 1.6 billion, but a unique subscriber penetration rate of 36 percent on average.
The number of unique mobile subscribers in the region is forecast to grow by 5 percent per year over the remainder of the decade (2014 to 2020 CAGR), faster than the global average (4 percent) and making Asia Pacific the second-fastest region globally behind only Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mobile to economy and job
The mobile industry contributed $1.1 trillion to the Asia Pacific economy in 2014, according to a GSMA new report published at the GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai.
$1.1 trillion is equivalent to 4.7 percent of the region’s GDP, with over a quarter of this economic contribution generated directly by mobile operators.
Main growth drivers were mobile broadband and smartphone penetration, said GSMA.
Asia Pacific now accounts for half of the world’s unique mobile subscribers and mobile connections and will continue to grow at a faster pace than the global average over the next five years, adding 600 million new unique subscribers by 2020.
“The Asia Pacific region features some of the world’s most advanced mobile markets, as well as fast-growing emerging markets that are using mobile as a platform to deliver essential services such as education, healthcare and banking,” said Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA.
In 2014 the mobile ecosystem directly and indirectly employed 12.5 million people in Asia Pacific, a figure expected to rise to 15 million by 2020. The industry also makes a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with approximately $130 billion contributed in 2014 in the form of general taxation. This is set to grow to over $150 billion by 2020.