GSMA’s report Mobile Economy APAC 2023 has highlighted that the Asia Pacific region will see a tenfold increase in 5G connection by 2030 which will mean broadband coverage for 96% area but still remains a long way as APAC still holds the “largest usage gaps in the world.”
The 5G connectivity will account for 41% of total mobile connectivity in the APAC region at the end of 2030. By 2030, the region will have 1.4 billion 5G connections. GSMA says the growth will be backed up by the fairly low price of 5G devices, and efforts by leading governments to the growth in mobile-enable technologies in societies.
However, the report shows a stark contradiction in connectivity as 5G connectivity will be concentrated in developed markets such as Australia, Singapore, and South Korea. That is, many regions in the APAC will continue to suffer from poor or the lack of broadband connectivity. In fact, 47% APAC population will lack mobile internet and lag behind South America, China, and Euroasia.
“Poor digital skills, particularly among older populations, device and service affordability, and online safety concerns” are attributed to the poor mobile broadband statistics.
On APAC’s potential
Julian Gorman, Head of APAC at the GSMA, said: “As the mobile market spans the world’s largest geographical area, APAC’s connectivity ecosystem is highly nuanced and consists of both pioneering mobile innovators and emerging markets.”
“The region has some of the fastest growing 5G markets in the world today, notably India, which is set to add tens of millions of 5G connections in 2023. However, across APAC as a whole we’re also seeing some of the world’s largest disparities in mobile internet usage,” he commented. “If we are to fully realize the digital transformation mobile connectivity can bring, we need to establish a flexible, forward-looking regulatory and policy regime to support mobile network deployment and operations. This includes greater efforts to close the digital divide, particularly for women and vulnerable populations.”
Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, Group Chief Executive Officer, Singtel said: “Our experience in Singapore has taught us that early adoption of emerging technologies has been critical in enabling the economic development of our nation. This is why Singtel rolled out standalone 5G nationwide coverage three years ahead of regulatory targets, turning Singapore into a testbed for the world to explore new solutions and applications. It is therefore imperative that the ecosystem comprising telcos and hyper scalers to individual developers collaborate to enable new digital experiences for both enterprises and consumers across Singapore and the region, as this will ultimately benefit our communities. We look forward to working with the industry and GSMA to unlock more opportunities for innovation and economic growth with 5G.”
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Mobile Economy APAC 2023 Report highlights
GSMA published its “Mobile Economy APAC 2023 Report” at an event hosted by the GSMA and Singtel, in Singapore. These are the key findings:
- Mobile subscribers will increase by 400 million between 2022 to 2030 reaching 2.1 billion. Penetration will improve to 70% but will stay behind the global average of 73%.
- smartphone usage will reach 94% by 2030, increasing by 18% from 2022 contributed by affordable mobile phone costs and improving digital literacy.
- Currently, 49% of the population in Asia Pacific is connected to mobile internet.
- The mobile sector contributed $10 billion of economic value to the APAC economy in 2022 and is projected to reach $1 trillion by the end of 2030.
- 5G will contribute $133 billion to the APAC economy in 2030.
- 5G will benefit service and manufacturing industries the most as smart cities, smart factories, and smart grids will become more prominent.
The report finds that 5G adoption will inspire monetization and will attract new customers for more spending. Extended Reality (XR) and virtual reality will drive up the migration towards the 5G network. 5G fixed wireless access services will serve more revenue opportunities where fixed broadband penetration is less.
Likewise, GSMA claims that Asia Pacific is one of the fastest fintech industries with emerging markets such as India, Vietnam, and Indonesia seeing wide digital transformation. The financial inclusion has grown since Covid-1 which has transpired further financial inclusion as well as mobile payment accounts.