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More than 4, customers from countries utilise BuddeComm Research. The largest telecommunications research site on the internet. Asia - Telecom Forecasts Publication Overview This BuddeComm annual publication provides country level forecasts for the 34 telecoms markets across Asia for their mobile, mobile broadband and fixed broadband markets. Table of Contents 1.

Purchase with Confidence Dollar for dollar, Paul Budde and his team of expert analysts offer the best research regarding telecommunications and telecommunications related issues in the industry. Their products cover the entire globe, are in depth and authoritative. I can recommend them without reservation. It is easy to say because I mean it. Thanks to everyone there for top quality work.

Sample Reports A selection of downloadable samples from our Annual Publications catalogue. Download a Sample Report. Contact us Contact BuddeComm. Email First Name Last Name. A Nepali entrepreneur providing public telephone and e-mail service from his photo shop. There are around or so unlicensed public call centres PCC around the country, mainly in Kathmandu and its surroundings, which seem to offer the main hope for extending access. PCCs offer a range of services including long distance and international telephone, fax, call-back, photocopy, Internet and e-mail.

In other countries in the region, mobile subscriber growth rates are much higher than the fixed lines growth rate hence it is only a matter of time before the former surpasses the latter. The region will be relatively late to achieve this crossover with several factors holding mobile penetration back.

One is a late start with only Pakistan and Sri Lanka having mobile networks in the early s. Another is market structure. India experimented with regional duopolies that proved to be a constraint. Only recently has consolidation occurred, providing the needed economies of scale. In Nepal, mobile service is a monopoly and thus not benefiting from the lower prices and wider coverage achieved through competition. Bhutan has yet to launch a mobile service. Another constraint has been unfriendly billing practices such as Receiving Party Pays, pre-paid cards with less than their face value and short validity dates and national roaming charges.

The introduction of Calling Party Pays in Pakistan in gave a boost to its cellular market, growing it over per cent.

During the past decade there has been a phenomenal increase in the number of public telephone facilities in South Asia. In , public telephone facilities accounted for 2. Public calling facilities represent a significant contributor to expanding access to telecommunication services. The Grameen project in Bangladesh is a well-known example. With financing from Grameen Bank, women buy cellphones and provide telephone service in their shops or the local market see Mobiles in rural Bangladesh.

In addition to licensed public telephone facilities, there are numerous technically illegal telecentres in the region reselling telephone service for community access see Public call office in Nepal. In Sri Lanka alone, there are an estimated 20 unregulated communication centres compared to payphones providing a variety of telecommunication services and some even operating 24 hours a day.

Sector reform has transformed the telecommunication landscape of South Asia. Governments of most countries in the region have, in recent years, made significant changes in their approaches to infrastructure development. In particular, private sector participation has been or is being introduced.

Executive Summary

At present, five out of the seven South Asian countries have granted operating licences for fixed and cellular operations to private operators. Table 2 summarizes the basic structure of the telecommunication services market of South Asia. In total, there are 51 telecommunication operators in the region, including 18 basic service operators and 37 cellular service operators.

Out of the seven South Asian countries the Maldives and Sri Lanka, the countries with the highest teledensity in the region, have incorporated strategic investors in their respective incumbent telecommunication operators. Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh have liberalized their local service sectors by allowing private operators to compete with the incumbents. However, complete competition has yet to occur.

The international long-distance sector has not been opened up to competition except India. In the cellular services sector, competition has been widespread. All governments, except Nepal and Bhutan, have taken steps to liberalize this sector. Grameen Telecom GT is dedicated to extending the benefits of telecommunications to the rural people of Bangladesh. It is a not-for-profit company and holds 32 per cent of Grameen Phone that was awarded a nationwide licence for GSM cellular services in Grameen Phone has expanded rapidly since launching service in March By December , it had subscribers around 70 per cent of the country total.

GT hopes to extend telecommunication services to rural areas by leveraging its part ownership of Grameen Phone. Under a micro credit programme provided by a GT sister institution Grameen Bank , a villager can purchase a mobile phone and become the VP operator in their village. In addition, there is a flat service charge rate for each incoming call. The programme was started with eight VPs in March The number of Village Phones was 12 on 24 April GT estimates that the current VPs are providing telephones access to over 30 per cent of the rural population.

The average usage of VPs is about minutes per month, of which minutes are outgoing calls. In June , the average monthly bill was USD A person may not own a telephone but may have access to one nearby. VP serves as an attrac tive source of revenue. Increased labour mobility resulting in increased rural-urban migration as well as immigration has led to an enhanced demand for telephone services.

A study on the ben efits of VPs claims that the predomi nant economic benefit of using VPs is the facilitation of the flow of income and wealth between overseas workers or workers in urban cities like Dhaka and their families in rural villages. VPs can also be used to obtain market information that allows villagers to negotiate bet ter prices for their products.

Access to the Internet, electronic fund transfer and other value-added services are in the pipeline. As Grameen Phone expands its network throughout the nation, GT will spread its operation to more villages. When GP completes its network expansion by the year , 50 VPs will be in operation, covering most of the country.

Asia - Telecom Forecasts

In the last decade, as the region witnessed liberalization and privatization, it became necessary to share the responsibility of meeting the universal access targets between the incumbent government-owned monopolies and new entrants. A growing number of regulatory agencies in South Asia oversee the telecommunication sector. Most national telecommunication regulatory agencies have some kind of stated universal access policy goal. In most cases, a rural roll-out obligation or contribution conditions applicable to all licensed telecommunication operators accompanies the universal access policy guidelines.

Furthermore, provisions are made so that policy tools such as revocation of licences or imposition of penalties can be used to enforce the universal access conditions. Additionally, most have scheduled specific targets for achieving universal access. In the case of the Maldives, the target was set for , but it was able to provide per cent universal access ahead of schedule by May see Leveraging on post offices. Overall, the regulatory framework for universal access provision in the region is already in place. What are lacking are concrete efforts to implement, enforce and monitor developments.

Dhiraagu delivers Although the Maldives has the smallest population of the South Asian countries, its citizens are spread out on of the more than islands that form the archipelago. This works out to around USD per line or more than twice the world average, attesting to the higher costs of installing telecommunications in rural and remote areas. In some dozen years, Dhiraagu has made the Maldives the envy of other South Asian nations. Fixed teledensity crossed the landmark of ten in , the highest of South Asian nations and more than three times the regional average.

The Maldives is the only country in the region to have attained universal access, meaning complete telephone coverage of its inhabited islands. That is a remarkable achievement for a least developed country. Over payphones have been installed, giving the Maldives the highest payphone penetration in South Asia.

Now that universal access has been reached, the Maldives must push to higher goals.

Telecommunications Development in Asia

One is expanding mobile coverage, launched relatively late in January Since the network was converted to digital GSM network in November , growth has been high and mobile subscribers overtook fixed telephone lines in April Mobile is available on 36 islands covering 40 per cent of the population. There is currently a project to expand service to an additional 35 islands pushing population coverage to over 50 per cent.

Over one fifth of households had a fixed line in , twice the South Asia average. There is still plenty of room for growth considering that some 60 per cent of Maldives homes have a television.


If universal access can be achieved relatively quickly within the Maldives challenging geographic context of dozens of spread out islands, there is no reason why this should not be the case among other South Asian nations. Perhaps the main reason for the Maldives success is that it privatized its incumbent operator earlier than other South Asian nations and also brought in a strategic investor.

Although Dhiraagu is a profit-seeking company, it also has a social conscience and has worked closely with the government to pursue national telecommunication goals.

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Ironically, while other South Asian nations are now wrestling with liberalization as a method of achieving elusive universal telephone access, the Maldives did so under a monopoly environment. In the end, it is not the means, but the result that matters. Rural networks With 71 per cent of its population in rural areas, South Asia is an overwhelmingly rural region. Therefore ensuring access to communications in rural areas should be a prime goal.

There are several possible ways of measuring rural access to telecommunications. These include rural teledensity; the number of rural localities with telephone services and mobile population coverage. Rural and urban teledensity are not always available for all countries; however, available data suggests that rural and urban teledensity in South Asia stands at one and nine respectively.

Rural teledensity compared to the average urban teledensity of South Asia suggests that rural areas are not adequately served. However, rural teledensity may not be the best way of looking at the problem. Because incomes are lower in rural areas and the cost of installing a line is much higher than in cities, it is more realistic to expect that telephones in rural areas should be shared.

Another way of measuring rural access is to ascertain how many villages have a telephone. Rural South Asia is made up of some villages with populations ranging from 50 to 10 persons per village. Table 3 summarizes the rural telephone coverage in South Asia. The numbers are not precise but the message is clear.