Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/20/2014 -- Asia's booming mobile and broadband sectors are quietly underpinned by the region's all-important fixed infrastructure
The changing nature of the telecom market has had a major impact on the approach to investment in infrastructure. With shifting revenue patterns across the market segments and falling ARPUs on many services, operators became considerably more selective about what they actually invest in. Telecom operators throughout Asia have been adjusting investment levels on the back of carefully considered investment strategies. This has seen companies shifting business focus, looking for new ways to add value to existing revenue streams;
it has also seen a strong desire to leverage new value from infrastructure that is already in place. This has especially been the case with mobile network moving increasingly to support mobile broadband services and newer generations of mobile technologies.
The governments of Asian nations have long recognised - some earlier than others - that there needed to be some encouragement of private sector investment to meet the demand for the all-important capital needed in the telecom sector. At the same time, it was also generally well recognised that this strategy could not rely on local investment alone, and would inevitably mean a substantial level of foreign investment. Of course, despite this recognition, there has inevitably been some resistance within some administrations to opening up the telecom sector to foreign investors and as a consequence the level of 'encouragement' across the region has been variable.
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The initial round of substantial investment in telecom infrastructure in Asia was in fixed telephone networks. Over a number of decades the regional economies were progressively building their often quite substantial fixed-line national networks. These fixed networks were in time followed by the building of mobile networks. In many of the developing nations of the region, the building of fixed-line infrastructure was not far advanced before it was overwhelmed by the introduction of mobile infrastructure. This created the phenomenon of 'substitution' in many of the markets of Asia (where mobile services perform the function of the limited, or even non-existent, fixed telephone services.) Nevertheless, despite the unevenness in disposition, fixed infrastructure has been and continues to be an important component in the overall development of the region's telecom sector. Coming into 2014 there were an estimated 500 million fixed-line subscribers in Asia;
this was down from a peak of around 570 million in 2009;
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