3gsmaGSMA recently published a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the mobile industry on the Asia Pacific region. The new report, 'Mobile Economy: Asia Pacific 2013', which is the latest in a series of reports covering the region, confirms the Asia Pacific's position at the forefront of mobile innovation, with the number of unique mobile subscribers having outpaced the rest of the world over the last decade, reaching 1.5 billion at the end of 2012.

Mobile drives economic growth

In 2017, it is expected that Asia Pacific will reach 1.9 billion unique mobile subscribers, accounting for almost half of the predicted global total of 3.9 billion.

"Mobile is already having a profound impact across all Asia Pacific countries, with spectacular growth in service penetration, driven by investment in infrastructure and continued innovation in devices and services," said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA, adding: "We are now at the dawn of a far greater growth opportunity and we urge regional governments and regulators to support mobile operators in meeting that full potential. Making the right decisions around regulatory frameworks and spectrum availability will encourage the mobile industry to continue investing in expanding and upgrading services across the region."

The rapid penetration of mobile services and early roll-out of mobile broadband networks is driving profound economic change in Asia Pacific. As of the end of 2012, the mobile industry had invested US $80 billion in mobile infrastructure, generated US $1 trillion in GDP for Asia Pacific economies and contributed US $100 billion to public funding. With access to vital spectrum resources and regulatory policy focused on driving further investment, for the period through 2020, the mobile industry could contribute an additional US $2.3 trillion to GDP and a further US $200 billion to public funding.

Dawn of a new mobile ecosystem

The mobile ecosystem in Asia Pacific is undergoing a rapid transformation with traditional telecom providers expanding their business models and new players quickly emerging to compete for customers with innovative new services. The report highlights a number of key trends, such as:

  • Strong growth of data as voice traffic slows down across the Asia Pacific region, while data usage has grown at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of nearly 142% from 2010 to 2012. 3G and 4G connections will grow 17% every year over the next five years;
  • Greater affordability of mobile services. The average monthly cost of mobile services across the region is falling by 5% per year, decreasing from US $28.80 in 2005 to $19.70 in 2012;
  • Entry of non-traditional players, including the emergence of entrepreneurial start-ups in areas such as mobile advertising and online video sites; and
  • Increased socio-economic impact through collaborative platforms and mobile-enabled services such as payments, education and information services.

This transformation is creating countless business opportunities in both developed and developing economies and accelerating the availability of mobile-enabled services.

Moving faster to reap benefits

GSMA’s prediction of more than 1.5 billion new mobile connections added in Asia by 2017 stimulates without doubts the growth of the so-called ‘Connected Life’ by intelligently connecting people to everything around them via new and innovative mobile-connected products and services. Thus, the new report developed by PwC and the GSMA reveals exactly that, the transformative impact that connected devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will have on the automotive, education, health and smart cities sectors in Asia. Connected City highlights how mobile is making homes and cars smarter, travel swifter, shopping easier and urban living safer and more environmentally friendly over the next five years.

By 2017, according to the new PwC-GSMA research, the growth of the "Connected Life" in Asia has the power to:

  • Add up to US $22 billion in economic productivity in China by reducing traffic congestion: The introduction of mobile-enabled vehicle telematics could significantly reduce traffic by reporting critical data such as location, driving speed and direction. Reducing congestion is a key challenge. For instance, Beijing experienced a traffic jam in 2012 that spanned over 100 kilometres and lasted more than 10 days and the average urban commute in the biggest Chinese cities is already around 80 minutes per day. Time saved by reducing traffic through mobile services will help Chinese commuters reclaim nearly two hours of their time every week and add as much as US $22 billion of economic productivity.
  • Help power 10 million homes in India by cutting power theft: Installing mobile-enabled smart meters in India could save enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes by 2017. India loses 24% of the electricity it generates every year, costing its economy more than US $17 billion, with power theft accounting for around half of these losses. Mobile-enabled smart meters provide the wireless connectivity that allows utilities to detect and record theft.
  • Save US $10 billion in healthcare costs in Japan through mHealth: By 2017, almost 28% of the Japanese population is expected to be over 65 years old. The adoption of mobile technologies for remote monitoring, disease management, and preventive medicine for the elderly could reduce Japan’s healthcare spend by US $10 billion in 2017, resulting in sufficient savings to cover the medical expenses of one million senior citizens each year.
  • Reduce education costs for students in South Korea by up to US $12,000 per student: Technology, and in particular mobile-enhanced learning in South Korea, could complement traditional after-school private classes, saving students up to US $12,000 over their school lives. In 2012, South Korean parents spent around US $17.5 billion, or 1.5% of GDP, on private after-school education. Replacing private English and maths classes with technology/mobile-enhanced learning for two days a week could help South Korean students save enough to cover half the cost of their higher education tuition.

“The pervasive nature of connected devices is already transforming the way that people in the region live their lives,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “Over the next five years, Asia will experience an accelerated growth in connected cars, buildings, medical monitors and a whole range of connected consumer electronics and household appliances. However, continued collaboration between mobile operators and key players in vertical sectors is vital in further driving the disruptive and pioneering mobile services that will improve the lives of people in the region.” (Source: GSMA)

By MediaBUZZ