The GSMA has released its latest Mobile Economy Asia Pacific 2022 report, which provides a detailed picture of mobile internet adoption in the region. Currently, mobile broadband networks cover approximately 96% of the population, reflecting operator investment in 3G, 4G and, increasingly, 5G infrastructure. However, only 44% of the population (1.23 billion users) use mobile Internet services.
Reasons for this gap include lack of digital skills, affordability and online security issues. This year’s report describes how countries are tackling this usage gap.
“Closing the usage gap and extending the benefits of the internet to more people in society is essential,” said Julian Gorman, Head of GSMA Asia-Pacific Region. “However, this will require a concerted effort from a wide range of stakeholders, working with mobile operators and other ecosystem players such as device manufacturers and digital content creators, to drive adoption. and overcome the obstacles we see today.”
Mobile offers economic and societal benefits
Mobile technologies and services continue to make a significant contribution to the Asia-Pacific economy, generating 5% of the region’s GDP in 2021, which equates to around $770 billion in economic value. This ecosystem supported around 8.8 million jobs in 2021 and made a substantial contribution to public sector financing, with around $80 billion raised through taxation.
400 million 5G connections by 2025
5G adoption is expected to accelerate in the Asia-Pacific region as the technology’s footprint expands. Today it is commercially available in 14 markets, with more including India and Vietnam to go live in the coming months.
According to the report, by 2025 there will be more than 400 million 5G connections, or just over 14% of total mobile connections. Progress is more advanced in countries like Australia, Japan and South Korea and in Singapore, 5G is expected to account for 55% of the country’s connections by 2025.
Asia-Pacific metaverse momentum
The report also explores the rise of the metaverse and highlights various use cases of 5G and other related activities in the region.
Notably, government agencies in the region have begun developing plans to harness the potential of the platform to increase the efficiency and quality of public services. South Korea plans to spend $186.7 million to build its metaverse ecosystem, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand has leveraged technology to boost tourism in the country.
Digital innovation policies
Policymakers and regulators can spur growth and innovation by establishing a flexible, forward-looking regulatory regime to support mobile network deployment and operations. The report provides an overview of priority areas where regulatory reforms would bring maximum benefit to the region.
Mobile 360 Asia Pacific in Singapore
APAC’s adoption of 5G will be the focus of the GSMA’s Mobile 360 Asia Pacific Conference on August 2-3, 2022 at the JW Marriott South Beach Hotel in Singapore. The two-day agenda will feature thought-provoking speeches and discussions on how a digital nation strategy is essential in the post-pandemic global economy.