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Youth & apps to drive smartphone & data usage in South East Asia says Ericsson

Ericsson releases its first appendix to the Ericsson Mobility Report that specifically covers the South East Asia and Oceania region. The appendix illustrates the differences across the region, including smartphone uptake, access to LTE, and network performance.

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Three key trends driving ICT growth in the region are youth culture, urbanization and the rise of smartphones. The region’s youth population of more than 170 million is among the largest globally.

Todd Ashton, President of Ericsson Malaysia and Sri Lanka, says: “Youth are active users of apps, especially messaging apps, and in Malaysia about 30 percent of the population is aged 10-24. Here, we also observe that the smartphone is the primary device for internet access and as smartphones become cheaper, more consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity.

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“Today, smartphone penetration ranges from around 20 percent for developing markets to more than 60 percent for advanced markets. As smartphone subscriptions are expected to grow about 5 times, there will be more than 700 million smartphone subscriptions in the region by 2019 and will constitute more than half of its expected 1.3 billion total mobile subscriptions.”

As usage of apps and services increases, mobile data traffic will grow by more than 10 times between 2013 and 2019. Ashton says: “This means there is a need to create high performing networks to keep up with more complex user demands and support increasing mobile application consumption.”

Australia and Singapore, both mature ICT markets, represent almost all of the 20 million LTE subscriptions that the region will have by the end of 2014. Australia, closely followed by Singapore has the best in class networks in the region based on median throughput network speeds.

4G/LTE subscriptions are currently concentrated in developed markets, but developing markets will gain momentum in the next five years. By the end of 2019, as networks are deployed in more countries, LTE subscription growth is expected to reach around 230 million subscriptions, bringing LTE penetration for the region to around 20 percent.

In Malaysia, Ericsson said the LTE subscription reaches around 2% in 2013, and the coverage is expanded beyond the key market centers in Malaysia. “Our studies show that there is strong demand for mobile broadband in rural and urban Malaysia across all age groups. As networks are deployed in more areas across the country, the LTE subscriptions in Malaysia will also gain momentum,” says Ashton.

In Ericsson’s global Mobility Report released earlier this month, three countries in the region — Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh — recorded among the top 5 highest net additions globally for mobile subscriptions in the first quarter 2014.

The appendix for the South East Asia and Oceania region is published by Ericsson in conjunction with its recently-released Ericsson Mobility Report, which includes key global trends on Machine-to-Machine subscriptions, smartphone subscriptions, and LTE uptake.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy