Korea Regional Leader in High-Speed Mobile Network

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Korea Regional Leader in High-Speed Mobile Network


September 21, 2004


Korea leads countries in the Asia-Pacific region in the use of high-speed mobile networks, with 84.5 percent of mobile subscribers accessing the services, according to a new report from Telecommunications Management Group Inc., a U.S.-based consultancy.

The report, "Asia-Pacific Mobile Multimedia Outlook," released on September 8 at ITU Telecom Asia 2004, notes that the percentage of high-speed mobile subscribers in the region has risen from zero in 2000 to 11.4 percent in 2003. "High-speed mobile networks are beginning to spread throughout the Asia-Pacific region, providing a platform for the development of multimedia services. Some form of high-speed mobile network has been deployed in all countries studied for the report," it notes. The report says that Japan and Korea lead the world in mobile Internet penetration and examines prospects for other economies in the region catching up.

In addition to high speed, another prerequisite for successful mobile multimedia adoption is attractive pricing. As a result of high-speed networks, operators have moved from time-based to volume-based pricing for mobile Internet access. Though an improvement, customers' main preference is for flat-rate mobile data tariffs, causing a number of operators to move in that direction. "For example, Japan's KDDI has launched an unlimited access mobile Internet tariff at a price equivalent to entry-level digital subscriber line.

"Ironically, the high use of SMS in these countries may actually be a barrier to more advanced multimedia applications. Operators are making significant revenue from text messaging in countries where SMS is booming, such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The downside is that it makes them reluctant to invest in faster networks and multimedia content," said Michael Minges, senior market analyst at TMG.

Another barrier for mobile multimedia is the lack of internet-enabled handsets. Multimedia handsets with cameras are too expensive for the majority of subscribers in developing nations, where most mobile services are pre-paid, he said.

The report features a mobile multimedia index based on a composite of four indicators. It covers high-speed network rollouts, pricing, text messaging and other factors affecting mobile Internet take-up.

The report is accompanied by a 14-table statistical supplement providing a complete picture of the mobile sector in 13 economies - Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand - that make up 98 percent of all mobile subscribers in the region.

 

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