Wireless networks to drive Asian voice market

Wireless communication is expected to fuel growth of the voice market in emerging countries across Asia, finds new IDC study.

Wireless communication networks are expected to fuel the growth of the voice market between 2007 and 2011 in emerging Asian countries, namely, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, says IDC.

According to the research house's latest study released Wednesday, telephone density is still very low in these countries because most of the telephone services are located in urban areas, while a majority of the population live in rural villages.

As such, installed voice capacity is unable to meet the demand due to various reasons, resulting in a long list of people waiting to get a connection, the IDC said.

The research house noted that regulators in these countries have pushed for the deployment of wireless communication networks to improve access to basic telephony.

"The emerging markets will continue its rapid growth due to the increasing need for basic voice and data services in the next few years," Kam Kasturie, senior analyst for IDC's Malaysia Telecommunications Research, said in a statement. "Regulatory barriers are expected to come down, and new guidelines will be framed to embrace the rapid pace of innovation."

According to preliminary results from the survey, IDC noted that total revenue from fixed-line services in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam posted a 114.2 percent annual growth rate from 2005. This market is expected to continue expanding due to strong demand for basic communication from the mass market.

The fixed-line market is forecasted to have a strong compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.1 percent over the next five years, IDC said. The research house noted that in 2006, telecom network service (TNS) revenues increased 113.9 percent year-on-year, while Internet access service (IAS) revenues grew 121.7 percent.

In Bangladesh, for instance, due to its large population, operators from the country are deploying cost-effective telecommunications infrastructure to improve access to basic services which is mainly voice.

IDC noted that future deployment will likely be focused on wireless communication networks using CDMA technology, but cautioned that the heavily-regulated environment could delay impending plans for improving many aspects of the country's telecommunications industry.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government is taking a more proactive role to regulate the country's telecommunication industry. More activities have been focused on building both fixed and data infrastructure across the country, the research house said.

Pro-competition policies, which are expected to bring prices down and increase availability of services, will be an important catalyst in increasing the adoption of many telecommunication services, IDC added.

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