Singapore leads SEA in smartphone, MBB adoption

Networks Asia staff
08 Jun 2016

Singapore continues to lead Southeast Asia in both smartphone and mobile broadband subscriptions population penetration, Ericsson's latest Mobility Report shows.

Smartphone penetration in Singapore has exceeded 100% and mobile broadband subscriptions have passed 140%, the report shows, ahead of the Southeast Asian average penetration levels of around 40% and around 60% respectively.

Globally, mobile subscriptions are growing around 3% year-on-year and reached 7.4 billion in Q1 2016. Indonesia and Myanmar are identified as among the key surge markets in Southeast Asia, with an additional 5 million subscribers in each country for Q1 2016. Across Asia Pacific smartphone subscriptions will reach 1.7 million by 2021.

By the end of 2015, only Singapore had a smartphone subscription penetration above 100% in Southeast Asia. In 2021, Singapore is expected to reach almost 130% smartphone subscription penetration.

This growth has, in turn, fueled a huge demand for rich content from subscribers, with YouTube now the second most popular app in Singapore behind WhatsApp, and the number one app in Indonesia.

Before the smartphone revolution, most of the attention in mobile network operations was focused on managing voice coverage. Voice now constitutes less than five percent of mobile traffic. Users still expect good voice coverage, but they also expect good user experience when they access the internet through apps running on their smart devices. Singapore has the top result overall in Southeast Asia for highest cell-edge downlink speed and lowest latency.

The report also highlights the huge growth expected in IoT connected devices in Asia Pacific, which globally are expected to surpass mobile phone subscriptions by 2018. This will be driven by emerging applications and business models, and supported by falling device costs.

Globally, IoT connected devices are expected to increase to close to 16 billion by 2021. Asia Pacific will be the region with the highest level of adoption, accounting for around 5 billion IoT connections.

IoT, which is a fundamental part of Singapore’s pioneering Smart Nation vision, will focus on two major segments - massive and critical connections. Massive IoT connections are characterized by high connection volumes, low cost, low energy requirements and small data traffic volumes - examples include smart buildings, transport logistics, smart meters and agriculture.

Critical IoT connections are characterized by requirements for ultra-reliability and availability, with very low latency. These include traffic safety, autonomous cars, industrial applications, remote manufacturing and healthcare, including remote surgery.

Martin Wiktorin, Country Head for Singapore & Brunei, Ericsson, said: “This report highlights the exceptional growth of mobile broadband and smartphone technology in Singapore and across the region. It also demonstrates how IoT promises to change society in the next few years. A recent IDC study predicts that by 2019, we will see $1.3 trillion worth of investment being poured into IoT technology globally which will empower the digital transformation of all our lives, accelerating our progress towards becoming a truly Networked Society.”

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