The Asia Pacific region contains five of the world’s ten largest mobile markets – China and India, which are the number one and two respectively and Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan, the sixth, eighth and tenth largest. These five occupy the top five places in the regional list, which is completed through the addition of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea and Bangladesh.
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A year ago, China was more than twice the size of India, with a total of 529.3m connections, compared with India’s 233.6m. This gap of nearly 300m has narrowed somewhat over the last year, despite China adding an average of more than 7m customers a month to reach a total of 615.7m. India benefitted from much increased competitive pressure and the continuing roll-out of coverage into rural areas and, as a result, it added an average of nearly 9.5m customers each month, to end with a total of 346.8m. Since the end of the year this pace has increased again: the first two months of 2009 alone saw a staggering 29m new connections, with the total likely to be close to 45m for the quarter.
During 2008, Indonesia overtook Japan to become the region’s third largest market with a total of 140.2m connections. Japan’s grip on fourth place is loosening, with Pakistan the main challenger – even though that market saw a slight reduction in numbers in Q4 as unregistered customers were culled. Japan added just over 5m connections to reach 105.8m, while Pakistan ended with 89.9m. The Philippines retains sixth place, with 68.1m customers, but it is likely to drop behind Vietnam in 2009. The market here is being liberalised (if that is the right word for a process which awards ever more licences to entities that are all, ultimately, state-controlled) and demand is rising rapidly. The market as a whole added over 30m new connections for a total of 67.2m, to become the region’s seventh largest, ahead of Thailand, which had begun the year in seventh place and added nearly 9m connections over the year to close with 61.9m. Ninth and tenth places go to South Korea (down from eighth, with 45.6m) and Bangladesh (unchanged, with 45.2m).
Source: Cellular News.