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Mobile communications in the Asia-Pacific region - statistics & facts

The beginning of mobile communications can be traced back to the mid-century when the first calls were made from car radiotelephones. However, the history of cellular communications starts when Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) deployed the first analog cellular systems, now retrospectively called 1G, in 1979. Since then, four more generations of cellular technology have been launched, and the mobile communication industry developed into the biggest telecommunications industry in Asia exceeding fixed-line communications services in revenue. Within the industry, mobile communications have started to heavily rely on mobile data services. Correspondingly, telecommunication corporations are investing in technology to offer mobile data with faster speed and lower latency.

Cellular technology

The mobile connection landscape in the Asia-Pacific region varies along the spectrum of mature to emerging markets. As expected, mature markets have higher mobile subscription and mobile internet penetration rates. Moreover, post-paid mobile subscriptions are prevalent in more mature markets of the region.

Since 4G was introduced in 2009, it has become the most used cellular network technology in the Asia-Pacific region since 2018. The usage of 4G was forecast to account for over two-thirds of all mobile subscriptions in the region by 2025. In 2019, China and Australia pioneered the 5G launch, and now it is available in a small number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The disparity of technology access among Asia-Pacific countries was forecast to persist as around two-thirds of all mobile subscribers in developed Asia-Pacific countries will be using 5G by 2025, compared to nine percent in the rest of the region, excluding China. The share of older cellular generations, 3G and earlier, was forecast to keep shrinking and even completely retire in China by 2025.

Mobile internet

Along with the widespread use of smartphones, mobile internet has become an integral part of the mobile communications industry. Revenue of mobile data services surpassed mobile voice services in 2017 in Asia and a year later in Australia and Oceania. Although the smartphone ownership rate is over 90 percent in some Asia-Pacific countries, the mobile subscriptions rate averages around 60 percent in the Asia-Pacific region. The mobile internet penetration rate varies significantly as well, e.g., from over 90 percent in Japan to less than 20 percent in Pakistan.

Which country has the best mobile internet in the Asia-Pacific region? The best is debatable, but South Korea might just have the fastest one in the region. South Korea also leads in 5G upload and download speeds. While in Southeast Asia, Singapore came on top with the highest upload speed and lowest latency.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Mobile communications in the Asia-Pacific region".


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