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2014 Asia Mobile Operators

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Last updated: 19 Nov 2014 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 479

Analyst: Peter Evans

Publication Overview

The report has gathered together a selection of information about each of these many operators. The range of information presented in the text, and where appropriate in tables, includes:

  • brief history of the company;
  • corporate and business structure;
  • subscriber growth;
  • some information on financial performance;
  • market position.

It is noted that the information provided varies from market to market and operator to operator, depending very much on the availability of statistics and corporate reports. In some markets BuddeComm also provides an overall review of the market in which we find these operators; this overview includes such statistical information as market share and Average Revenue per User (ARPU) if available. Within the background information we have also reported on the mergers and acquisition that have been part of a transformational market.

The countries covered in this report include: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- November 2014 (11th Edition)

Executive Summary

As subscriber growth eases in Asia’s huge mobile market, the focus has rapidly turned to mobile broadband

Across Asia a total of around 3.5 billion mobile subscribers were being served by a large number of mobile operators coming into 2014. The operators are continuing to drive the market, expanding it by between 5% and 10% annually at the moment. Whilst the growth rate has moderated the sheer numbers are impressive. This market report presents a wide-ranging review, providing details on around almost 200 of the mobile operators to be found in Asia in 2014.

The list of operators ranges from the giant China Mobile with almost 800 million subscribers right through to a number of much smaller operators with only a few thousand subscribers each. And of course there are the MVNOs. BuddeComm’s overview of mobile operators in the region certainly does not claim to present an exhaustive list of the licensed operators but it is truly indicative of the breadth and variety of operator to be found in the region. It also reflects the highly commercial and competitive nature of the mobile sector in this region.

The focus of this report is on the operators within the individual national markets. Of course, in addition to these individual operators there are those companies such as SingTel, Vodafone, and Axiata (formerly Telekom Malaysia International) that have built a substantial presence around the region beyond their own domestic market through their shareholdings in operators in multiple other markets. This aspect of these corporations is not discussed in any detail but is mentioned in passing in the country by country review.

In this report the top operators in Asia are shown ranked by subscribers as of end-2013. It is noted that of the region’s operators, 15 have a combined share of 71% of the total regional mobile subscriber base. In other words, less than 10% of the total number of operators in the market control almost three quarters of the total subscriber base. This list of top operators has remained relatively stable over the last year or so, with few changes to the leading group.

While the overall regional growth rate has eased considerably in the last few years, there are still some countries (and therefore operators) with growth rates well in excess of the regional average. Then of course there are the various growth patterns within the overall subscriber numbers. In this respect, the phenomenal growth of mobile broadband must be mentioned. Operators across the region have been responding to the huge demand for mobile broadband access. 

With the progressive opening up of markets to more competition, we initially saw the licensing of more and more operators across the region. One phenomenon in Asia has been the granting of a significant number of mobile operator licences in what have been regarded as smaller markets, ie with relatively low populations as well as low income per capita. We have seen this occur for example in Cambodia, Laos and Georgia. As expected, we have already started to see a process of rationalisation of the operator numbers in such markets. 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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