Fast forward five years. It's 2013 and the Asia-Pacific mobile market reaches two billion mobile subscribers, mobile penetration rate exceeds 50% in all markets, mobile service prices continue to decline, and competition grows tighter than ever as Asia-Pacific operators eye the next lucrative market reach in the communications ecosystem.
As the Asian communications market matures and competition tightens, Asia-Pacific operators will have stopped playing catch up trying to integrate converged mobility, and they will have clear, defined IP telephony strategies to incorporate unified communications components into a broader IP communications portfolio. Driven by constantly changing business priorities and expectations in the enterprise market, supporting collaboration-driven workforce will be top of mind and key for Asia-Pacific operators to succeed in the increasingly mobile enterprise market.
While Asia will have moved fast to build leadership in the wireless arena with more and more countries reaching 100% mobile penetration, Asian operators continue to be slow in addressing the requirements of a growing mobile workforce. In the next five years, the urban mobile market will be saturated in APAC, with the main growth coming from rural APAC as the economic climate in these previously underserved markets improves.
This iteration underscores how Asia-Pacific operators must focus on new business models such as fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), quadruple play and proceed with their transformational strategies like using VoIP to replace declining traditional voice business. This focus will enable operators to be more nimble in scaling their business in a constantly changing environment.
The key for service providers of 2013 to stay competitive will be to evolve their business models based on changing business needs and requirements. Embracing wireless technology while deploying new services like IP telephony is just one example. According to a Yankee Group report, 'Raising the Bar: The IP Telephony Service Provider Scorecard,' IP telephony providers will increasingly fill enterprises with service innovation and assured interoperability in two to three years.
As providers strive to provide competitive IP telephony, some will strengthen their competency through mergers and acquisitions. Others will make investments in training and service innovation. Eventually, these conditions will lead to a stable stream of market consolidation where smaller pure-play IP providers are likely to be potential acquisitions candidates.
In mature Asian economies, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) will also become the dominant last-mile broadband technology. On the wireless broadband front, Wimax and LTE just be mature and hitting the mass markets.
Service providers around the world are investing heavily in network infrastructure as two major forces collide -- demand for high bandwidth applications and government-backed ICT initiatives. In the next four years, the number of subscribers receiving telecom services over FTTH networks globally will explode as consumers demand for high-speed internet access, video service alternatives and Web 2.0 applications increase.
According to another Yankee Group report, global FTTH infrastructure market will double from $1.2 billion in 2006 to $2.5 billion in 2011. Asia Pacific is leading this growth due to service provider investment in the market, which will help drive the development of the global market. The link between telecom investment and GDP growth will have a significant impact on stimulating growth and development in many parts of emerging APAC markets.
Historically, governments in the Asia-Pacific region have been known for their tight grips on communications services. As the global connectivity revolution continues to take hold, we expect to see a change. Indeed, government bodies in China, Vietnam and India among other emerging markets are gearing up their investments in creating more dynamic markets on a global scale.