Where Will Half of the Mobile Subscribers Be in 2020?

By 2020, China and India will account for almost half of all new mobile subscribers worldwide, according to a new GSMA study. The 2017 edition of the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Economy Asia Pacific’ predicts India will account for 27 percent (206 million) and China 21 percent (155 million) of total new subscribers (predicted to be 753 million) by the end of the decade. The Asia Pacific region, forecast to increase from 2.7 billion unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2016 to 3.1 billion in 2020, is expected to play a pioneering role in implementing 5G technology, reported Cellular-News.

“Led by India and China, Asia’s mobile industry will be the main engine of global subscriber growth for the remainder of the decade, connecting almost half a billion new customers across the region by 2020,” said GSMA Director General Mats Granryd.

The Asia Pacific region has doubled mobile internet penetration over the last five years, triggered by several factors including rising smartphone use, mobile internet adoption and improved affordability. The region is slated to continue cultivation of mobile penetration, projected to increase from 66 percent in 2016 to 75 percent in 2020; but areas of penetration vary widely. Asia is home to four of the top five most penetrated markets in the world (Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan), but also some of the least penetrated, such as North Korea. 

Currently, 3G and above mobile broadband is dominant in the region and China, Japan, and South Korea are pushing towards 5G technologies. Mobile technologies and services contributed $1.3 trillion in economic value to the Asia Pacific economy last year and the forecast for 2020 is $1.6 trillion. This industry also supported approximately 16 million jobs in 2016.

Asia’s mobile industry is also playing a key role in tackling various social and economic challenges including helping to eliminate poverty, improving health, education, gender equality, employment opportunities, helping to make cities safer and addressing climate change. According to Granryd, “The mobile ecosystem in Asia is evolving rapidly, leading to the emergence of new services and applications that are transforming the way citizens across this diverse region live, work, play and communicate.”

June 30, 2017     

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