Photo (filepic) - Joe Webb, Head of Digital, Greater China, TNS.
According to insights released by the Telenor Group from research firm TNS's annual global 2013 Mobile Life study, Malaysia is both among the most smartphone savvy and least brand conscious markets in emerging Asia.
TNS's head of digital, Greater China, Joe Webb, said those surveyed placed phone features and functionality, such as instant Internet access, as their key why-buys, rather than brand or model of handset or the look and feel of the device. Malaysians also use their smartphones across a wider range of functions and more frequently than their counterparts in other emerging Asian markets.
"TNS undertakes the annual Mobile Life study to put a finger on the pulse of mobile usage across the world and to determine which mobile platforms and services drive consumer engagement today and which are most likely to grow in the future," said Webb, adding that smartphone use was now at 63 percent and still increasing, while 17 percent of Malaysians say that they would buy a smartphone in the next six months
"For global mobile providers like Telenor, it's going to be increasingly important to stay informed of consumers' behaviour on mobile, how mobile finance will shape the industry and the opportunities these changes and trends present," he said.
"Malaysia is our most mature market in Asia, and they are ready for the most advanced mobile technology and fastest connectivity available," said Telenor Group executive vice president and head of Asia operations and chairman of DiGi in Malaysia, Sigve Brekke,
"We have seen a strong uptrend in the adoption of the internet in recent years, however there is still a lot more we can do to enable access and bring the benefits of internet to more Malaysians," said Brekke. Citing another study by Ericsson ConsumerLab, smartphone penetration increased from 47 percent in 2012 to 63 percent this year as mobile data demand increased in the country.
Increasing technology sophistication
Brekke said the TNS study also showed that as the technological sophistication of Malaysia's consumers increases, "Malaysians are becoming more discerning on how their content is provided. This is a trend that we think both the telecommunications industry and handset makers should closely follow."
He said the top smartphone uses include: Location-based services, entertainment and streaming content, apps and social networks. "Malaysians are avid social networkers, with more than half of them logging on to their platforms of choice via mobile at least once a day."
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.