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Asia's emerging markets drive mobile phone growth

Jack Loo | Aug. 26, 2008
Eight countries have more than half of the world's mobile networks.

In most of the emerging nations, there are more than five active mobile service providers in any given market, observed Teh. Over time however, we expect market consolidation as mobile penetration rates increase and sustaining operations prove tricky for the smaller operators.

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To drive the adoption of mobile services among rural communities, some countries have rolled-out initiatives such as village phones, transmission tower-sharing among operators, as well as linking communities with mobile services to facilitate access and payments.

Teh believed that such innovation is necessary to achieve the connectivity vision, as wireless technologies will enable Internet access in these areas one of the most compelling features of wireless networks in emerging markets is the ability to provide a faster and cheaper alternative to desktop computers for accessing the world wide web, especially considering the lack of fixed-line infrastructure and power sources.

Some tariff plans such as getting paid to receive calls are risky, although revolutionary, and will only be possible when mobile advertising takes off in a big way, he said. But for now it remains a game of managing risks for potential high returns.


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