Investment bank Credit Suisse forecasts the number of Asian smartphone users will reach 347 million by 2015.
Buoyed by the proliferation of more affordable smartphones and services, Credit Suisse predicts that non-SMS wireless broadband data revenues in Asia (ex-Japan) will grow from a paltry $1.3 billion at end-2009 to $14.5 billion at end-2009.
“With larger screens and faster processors, smartphone users are increasingly using their handsets for web browsing and instant messaging,” Credit Suisse states.
“We project that non-SMS data use on handsets will grow to 17.4% of revenue by 2015.”
In addition, wireless broadband services, through dongles, are expected to generate 7.8% of revenues by 2015, up from only 2.1% as at 2009.
Incremental revenues from smartphones are expected to boost total revenues in Singapore and Hong Kong by 4.5 percentage points and 2.9 percentage points between 2009 and 2015.
“We note that without the added boost of data revenue growth, we would be projecting cellular market revenue declines in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia,” adds Credit Suisse.
Importantly, Credit Suisse expects higher smartphone revenues to “lead directly to higher cash flows.”
“Developed markets with better affordability for smartphones as well as higher penetration and, therefore, lower voice growth opportunities, are most leveraged to smartphone-induced revenue growth,” says Credit Suisse.
In Indonesia and China, where voice and SMS growth are still the real data drivers, smartphone growth “is providing a welcome additional revenue boost.”
On the other hand, additional data revenue generation from smartphones in India “is not significant enough to offset declines in core voice and SMS revenue,” the result of the country’s aggressive price war.