Most Mobile Users? Asia

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Asia will be home to more than half of the world's mobile connections by 2011, according to research house Ovum.

Last year (2007), Asia accounted for 42 percent of global mobile connections.

Ovum is now forecasting that connections in the Asia-Pacific (including China and India) will more than double from 1.4 billion last year, to 2.9 billion in 2013.

In the next five years, according to the research, China will have 1.7 billion mobile phone connections, Australia will have 28 million, Singapore 8.1 million and Indonesia will have 225 million.

Mobile broadband driver

Nathan Burley, an Ovum Analyst based in Melbourne, said that, in developed markets, the drivers of mobile connection growth include more multiple connections predominately due to mobile broadband. "However only a small proportion of connection growth will occur in developed markets", Burley said.

In emerging markets, new prepaid subscribers will continue to drive growth as the cost of ownership continues to fall. Nathan said, "We continue to see only limited impact on connections from negative macro-economic conditions".

He said that revenues, however, will not grow as fast as connections, as the overall average revenue per mobile (ARPU) falls especially in emerging markets.

Despite housing more than half world connections, lower ARPUs across Asia will mean the region still accounts for less than a third of industry revenue by 2013.

"We do however still expect healthy revenue growth at an average annual growth rate of 9 percent through to 2013," Nathan said. "Data will also continue to grow as a proportion of industry revenue."

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