Asia mobile broadband market to hit US$108B by 2015

Figure is more than double 2010's revenue of US$43 billion, as region set to account for nearly half of mobile Web connections worldwide by 2015, new report reveals.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor on

Asia's mobile broadband market revenue will more than double from US$43 billion in 2010 to US$108 billion by 2015, due to continued strong demand for Web access via mobile and smartphones, a new report states. The region is also poised to account for almost half of global mobile broadband connections in four years' time.

In a statement released Wednesday, Ovum forecasted that Asia-Pacific mobile broadband connections will grow at a six-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35 percent, to reach 1.5 billion in 2015 from 333 million in 2010. By 2015, Asia will account for 49 percent of mobile broadband connections worldwide, the research firm said.

According to Ovum, about 80 percent of the 1.5 billion connections in Asia are via "small-screen" gadgets such as smartphones and feature phones.

In contrast, connections via "big-screen" devices, including tablets, netbooks and laptops, will only reach 310 million by 2015, despite a higher CAGR of 41 percent, it noted.

Small-screen devices reign
Steven Hartley, Ovum principal analyst, stated in the report that small-screen devices are "eating away" growth opportunities for the big-screen segment in the mobile broadband market.

Consumers today, he pointed out, expect access to services such as Facebook on their mobile phones, which explains why handset connections will "far outstrip" big-screen connections by 2015.

In addition, big-screen devices such as laptops are less affordable, particularly in emerging markets, where lower-end smartphones or feature phones are the only means to access the Internet for many users, said Hartley.

Monetization of mobile broadband lacking
Ovum also predicted that besides driving mobile broadband connections, small-screen devices will lead in market revenue, garnering US$57 billion by 2015.

Revenues from big-screen devices, however, are not far off at US$51 billion, Ovum noted. This is because operators are able to charge a premium for dedicated mobile broadband services to big-screen devices, as opposed to service bundles of data, messaging and minutes typically offered to the small-screen segment, it explained.

That said, overall mobile broadband revenue is "not keeping pace" with the surge of connections in Asia, Ovum pointed out. To address this, service providers need to develop better monetization strategies to meet the demand for mobile Internet access and foster customer loyalty while still managing costs, it said.

In a separate report earlier this month, Ovum identified smartphones and tablets as the main drivers of mobile broadband growth in Asia. The research firm said these devices were used to connect online mainly for social networking and Web browsing.

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