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Telenor Group aims to connect 45 million Internet users in Asia by end of year

Telenor Group announced that it expects to increase its mobile internet subscriber base in Asia to 45 million users by year’s end, an increase of approximately 64% year over year and the company’s fastest uptake of mobile internet users to date.

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When these numbers are reached, roughly one-third of Telenor Group’s 160 million-person user base in Asia will be internet-enabled.

Currently, fewer than 20 percent in Telenor’s markets in Asia are active mobile data users, so this would be a marked jump and an encouraging step toward widespread internet access, Telenor says. The company’s Internet for All strategy aims to capture this significant revenue and growth potential in a region with low fixed-line penetration and declining device prices.

“This brings us one step closer to realizing our Internet for All mission in Asia. Our projections may be ambitious, but we are well positioned to continue rolling out mobile internet services to all in our Asia markets over the long-term,” said Sigve Brekke, Telenor Group EVP and Head of Asia Operations, and DiGi.Com Bhd’s Chairman.

“From a commercial perspective, mobile internet and mobile data are valuable for all economic players. They more than sustain business and allow us to continue innovating, serving and connecting. Internet penetration contributes to GDP, as reports from McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group have indicated, and it helps new technology ecosystems flourish in developing markets,” continued Brekke.

“From a human perspective, the mobile Internet is life-changing. And in this region of the world, we have the opportunity to bring our services to a much larger pool of people. The significant mobile internet growth that we project this year in all of our Asia markets shows that we’re well on way toward Internet for All.”

In Malaysia, mobile operator DiGi, part of the Telenor Group had 4.3 million Internet customers as of June 2014. The company claims that its 3G HSPA+ coverage in now available in 82.7% of the populated areas. DiGi operates its mobile network in the frequency of 900Mhz, 1800Mhz, 2100Mhz (3G) and 2600Mhz (4G LTE).

Last year, Thailand’s mobile internet penetration nearly doubled, leaping from 18 percent to 32 percent (NTSB), and dtac recently launched 4G services in Bangkok on top of its 3G network nationwide to begin filling this high demand.

Telenor have secured 3G spectrum in Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan, an additional 1800 MHz in India, as well as 900 MHz and 2.1 GHz in Myanmar, one of the world’s last greenfield markets.

Grameenphone in Bangladesh completed the fastest ever nationwide rollout of 3G in Telenor Group history in early 2014. In April, Telenor Pakistan acquired a license to begin next-generation 3G services and increase the number of mobile internet users in the country. In India, Uninor recently introduced internet services both on feature- and smartphones and expects to double both active data users and data revenues this year.  Finally, Telenor will start the rollout of 2G and 3G services in Myanmar next month.

In order to stimulate usage and meet customers’ needs, Telenor said it is partnering with social media and entertainment players such as Facebook, Wikipedia and WhatsApp and is focusing on other digital offers including financial services, knowledge access, as well as affordable and accessible health services.

“By using these services, the lives of individuals will transform and in turn stimulate societies to grow. Given the strong growth trajectory and pace of innovation, we are confident that we can monetize on this huge demand for mobile data in the coming years,” says Henrik Clausen, EVP and Head of Group Strategy and Digital.

As of the end of the second quarter 2014, Telenor Group had a total of 158 million voice, text and data subscribers in Asia.

About Kugan

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