Mobile penetration in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India) reached 110% in the first quarter of 2015, according to Ericsson.
Figures from the new Ericsson Mobility Report reveal that APAC's penetration is significantly higher than the global average (99%) and even surpassed mobile penetration rate in North America (107%). Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Latin America, however, have higher mobile penetration rate at 143%, 127% and 116%, respectively. China (92%), Africa (78%) and India (76%) are catching up.
Afrizal Abdul Rahim, Ericsson Head of ConsumerLab for Region Southeast Asia and Oceania, said the increasing availability of affordable smartphones, Internet access and mobility is enabling more consumers to access the benefits of the networked society.
Globally, Ericsson predicts that the world’s 7.2 billion mobile subscriptions today will grow to 9.2 billion by 2020, 85% of which will be for mobile broadband. By then, 90% of the world’s population (aged 6 and above) will have a mobile phone.
In Southeast Asia and Oceania alone, mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 1.24 billion by 2020 from 950 million in 2014 or a compound annual annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% from 2014-2020. Smartphone subscriptions are even expected to grow faster at CAGR of 25% for the same period or from 230 million in 2014 to 790 million by 2020.
While 25% of handsets in this region today are already smartphones, uptake will be driven further by growing interest in video and app services, according to Rahim.
The report also noted a growing trend in multi-device ownership. In Southeast Asia and Oceania, 31% of consumers uses only a smartphone, 32% use both a smartphone and a laptop, 10% use a smartphone and a tablet, and more than a fourth (28%) own all three devices.
As such, Ericsson predicts that mobile data traffic will grow nine times in the region reaching 3 exabytes per month by end of 2020.