Telecom power balance shifting to Asia-Pacific: report
HONG KONG, Dec. 4 Kyodo
The world’s telecommunications power balance is shifting toward the Asia-Pacific region, which is expected to take up nearly half the global market by 2010, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said Monday.
In its report on the latest Asia-Pacific telecommunications indicators released in Hong Kong, the ITU said the expansion of fixed telephone lines, mobile subscribers and Internet users in the region is striking.
”By the end of the current decade, the Asia-Pacific region will represent close to half the total world market for telecommunications,” it said.
The region is expected to account for 50% of the global mobile phone market by 2010, up from the present 35% and just 13% in 1990.
The global number of mobile phone subscribers is forecast to surge to 2.2 billion by 2010 from 490 million in January this year, the report said.
At the same time, the regional share of the world’s fixed telephone lines will expand from this year’s 33% to 46% in 10 years.
The number of fixed phone lines worldwide is predicted to reach 1.5 billion from 905 million in January this year.
”By that time, two out of every three new users added to the world’s telephone networks will be Asian,” the ITU said.
Although the region still lags behind North America and Western Europe in the Internet usage, the fastest growing markets are those in the region, it added.
The 1997-98 Asian financial crisis only slowed the region’s telecommunications growth rather than posing a long-term negative impact on the sector, the report added.
The region’s fixed telephone line business has seen a strong recovery since the crisis, with growth mainly taking place in developing nations, it said. Further liberalization in fixed line market among countries is also spurring growth.
Still, mobile phone usage in the region is overtaking that of fixed lines, with cellular phones being increasingly used as substitutes for fixed telephones, the report said.
The forthcoming launch of broadband digital wireless technology, commonly known as 3G technology, is expected to give fresh impetus to growth for the mobile phone market, it noted.
As for the Internet market, the Asia-Pacific region is leading the world in mobile Internet services, while improved local language support will generate even stronger demand, the ITU said.
Of the world’s top 10 Internet markets by the number of users in June this year, five are from the region, namely Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan, it reported.
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