Asia Pacific: operators investing heavily in the telecoms sector

Asia Pacific: operators investing heavily in the telecoms sector

The Covid-19 pandemic has shed light on the importance of digital connectivity in the Asia Pacific region. The Telecom industry has been reporting huge growth over the past few years with nearly 500 million new subscribers since 2014. 

According to a GSMA report, by the end of 2025, Asia will bring almost 700 million new mobile internet users. On the other hand, the number of mobile subscribers will reach 3.0 bn with a 70% penetration rate. China, Indonesia, and India are the largest smartphone markets globally. Together, these three countries will account for over 40% of global connections in 2025. China mobile established itself as the major telecom operator in the Asia Pacific in 2020, exhibiting a brand value of over 49 billion U.S. dollars, according to

Asia pacific mobile operators will invest over $400 million on their networks within 5 years. Around 80% of this investment will be spent on 5G network deployment. In fact, the region is home to the most advanced 5G market. GSMA report states that 12 markets have officially announced plans to launch 5G services while nine markets are already operational. South Korea, Australia, and China are leading the way.

In the Asia Pacific region, the digital economy became crucial amid the lockdown. Transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail are investing in digital transformation to cope with the situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, around 240 million people in the Asia Pacific lack mobile internet coverage, according to the GSMA report. Nevertheless, the report estimates that mobile data consumption will grow more than threefold in 2025. The availability of affordable high-speed networks will generate 28.9 GB per month compared to 9.2 GB per month in 2019.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital transformation as it came to facilitate remote working and healthcare services. However, Covid-19 will result in 18% fewer 5G connections in the Asia Pacific region in 2020 than previously expected.

Telecom operators have focused on ensuring connectivity. However, some countries have been suffering from Internet shutdown. According to Access Now, authorities in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Pakistan have been ordering internet shutdown. Internet Shutdown also happened during the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a serious impact on accessing healthcare information and remote working tools.