Asia mobile subscribers hit 1.5b in 2012

Updated: 2013-06-27 05:49

By He Wei (China Daily)

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The number of individual mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region was 1.5 billion by the end of 2012, outpacing the rest of the world in the last decade, a recent report has shown.

The region is expected to be home to 1.9 billion mobile subscribers by 2017, accounting for almost half of the estimated global total of 3.9 billion, according to the GSM Association, a global industry alliance of mobile operators and related companies.

"Mobile is already having a profound impact across all Asia-Pacific countries, with spectacular growth in service penetration, driven by investment in infrastructure and continued innovation in devices and services," said Anne Bouverot, the GSMA's director-general.

The rapid penetration of mobile services and early rollout of mobile broadband networks has led to profound economic changes in Asia Pacific. The study found that mobile network operators generated $298 billion in revenue in 2012, which accounted for 1.4 percent of the GDP of economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

By the end of last year, the mobile industry had invested $80 billion in mobile infrastructure and contributed $100 billion to public funding.

Even more impressive is the degree to which mobile technology contributes to the region's economic output through worker productivity. According to the study, this figure amounted to $650 billion, or an additional 3 percent of GDP in 2012.

The mobile ecosystem also supported about 16 million jobs across the region, including 6.4 million directly attributable to the industry and an additional 9.7 million indirectly.

The association estimated that by 2020, the mobile industry could contribute to almost 8 percent of the regional GDP, with 22 million additional jobs, and 12 percent more people with access to financial services, as well as significant economic contributions through infrastructure investment and tax payments.