Southeast Asia's mobile subscribers are expected to reach 453.3 million by the end of this year – an 18% growth from 2008, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Sales will grow 13.6% to $32 billion, up from $28.3 billion in revenues in 2008, the research firm said.
Mobile penetration had reached 72.5% by the close of 2008, when subscribers were at 383 million, F&S said.
Subscribers are expected to grow at a CAGR of 8% until end-2014, when there will be 606 million subscribers in the region. But revenues will grow at a CAGR of just 4.2% to $36.2 billion over the period.
F&S analyst Shaker Amin said growth was expected to be marginal in saturated markets like Singapore and Malaysia, which boast penetration rates of 131% and 97.8%, respectively.
Market growth “will largely be fueled by user migration to 3G, mobile broadband uptake and generally, the higher consumer appetite for mobile content and data services,” he said.
Most of the subscriber growth will come from emerging markets like Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, where mobile ownership is below 75%, Amin said. Most of the new users will be low-ARPU prepaid subscribers.
Southeast Asia accounted for around 21.5% of all mobile users in the Asia-Pacific region in 2008, Frost and Sullivan said. Only around 6% were 3G subscribers.