Photo - (From left) Afrizal Abdul Rahim, Head of Ericsson ConsumerLab South East Asia and Oceania; and Todd Ashton, President of Ericsson Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
According to communications technology provider Ericsson's Mobility Report, Malaysia's youth population in common with the Southeast Asia and Oceania region is helping to drive mobile internet use with the use of mobile devices and apps.
During the release of report's first appendix in Kuala Lumpur, Ericsson Malaysia and Sri Lanka president Todd Ashton said the youth population of more than 170 million in the region is among the largest in the world and fuelling the uptake of apps, smartphones and mobile data services.
"Youth are active users of apps, especially messaging apps, and in Malaysia about 30 percent of the population is aged 10-24," said Ashton. "Here, we also observe that the smartphone is the primary device for internet access and as smartphones become cheaper, more consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity."
The report showed the differences across the region, including smartphone uptake, access to LTE [long term evolution], and network performance, he said. "Three key trends driving ICT growth in the region are youth culture, urbanization and the rise of smartphones."
"Today, smartphone penetration ranges from around 20 percent for developing markets to more than 60 percent for advanced markets," said Ashton. "As smartphone subscriptions are expected to grow about 5 times, there will be more than 700 million smartphone subscriptions in the region by 2019 and will constitute more than half of its expected 1.3 billion total mobile subscriptions."
He said that as usage of apps and services increased, mobile data traffic will grow by more than 10 times between 2013 and 2019. "This means there is a need to create high performing networks to keep up with more complex user demands and support increasing mobile application consumption."
LTE growth potential
Ashton said that LTE mature ICT markets such as Australia and Singapore represent almost all of the 20 million LTE subscriptions that the region will have by the end of 2014. "Australia, closely followed by Singapore has the best in class networks in the region based on median throughput network speeds."
He confirmed that 4G/LTE subscriptions were currently concentrated in developed markets, "but developing markets will gain momentum in the next five years. By the end of 2019, as networks are deployed in more countries, LTE subscription growth is expected to reach around 230 million subscriptions, bringing LTE penetration for the region to around 20 percent."
"In Malaysia, the LTE subscription reached about 2 percent in 2013, and the coverage was still being expanded beyond the key market centres in the country, said Ashton. "Our studies show that there is strong demand for mobile broadband in rural and urban Malaysia across all age groups. As networks are deployed in more areas across the country, the LTE subscriptions in Malaysia will also gain momentum."
Released earlier this month, Ericsson's global Mobility Report showed that three countries in the region -- Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh -- recorded among the top 5 highest net additions globally for mobile subscriptions in the first quarter 2014.
The appendix for the South East Asia and Oceania region is published by Ericsson in conjunction with its recently-released Ericsson Mobility Report, which includes key global trends on Machine-to-Machine subscriptions, smartphone subscriptions, and LTE uptake.
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