North Asia set for low mobile growth

Dylan Bushell-Embling
07 Sep 2009

North Asia leads all other Asian subregions in terms of mobile subscribers, revenue and innovation, due largely to Japan and South Korea, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The region's operators are expected to take in a combined $183 billion in revenues this year, and $229.8 billion by the end of 2014 – with CAGR of around 5.2%.

But with mobile ownership at saturation, revenues in all markets but China will grow at a low 1% CAGR from now until 2014.

Hong Kong's mobile penetration rate was 133.2% in 2008, Japan's 86.5%, South Korea's 94% and Taiwan's 110.9%. Only China, with mobile ownership of 51.6%, has strong growth prospects.

Mobile subs are expected to top 1 billion by the end of 2009 and will grow at a CAGR of 7.7% until 2014, when it is expected to reach 1.37 billion users.

The vast bulk of the 15.3% annual subscriber growth will come from China, which had 687.2 million mobile customers in 2008 – 78.2% of the North Asia region's subscribers.

Japan and South Korea have the largest ARPU levels in Asia-Pacific, Frost said. In 2008, Japan's ARPU was $53.20 per month, whereas South Korea's was $38.04.

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