At first glance, the region’s mobile and fixed broadband markets, including New Zealand, look quite flat.
So much so that IT analyst firm Ovum is forecasting between 6% and 8% subscription growth over the next year.
But what the top-line numbers don’t reveal is that large segments of the population will be upgrading to 4G in developed markets, nor does it show how many first-time smartphone buyers will be coming online.
“In terms of broadband,” explains Charles Moon, analyst, Ovum, “fibre is the main story, as China in particular continues to see widespread rollouts across its major cities.”
According to Moon, many operators in Asia already enjoy having both fixed and mobile assets – such as Telstra, Singtel, KT, KDDI, and Indosat for example.
“The question in this region is whether operators will start offering quad-play or, failing that, more significant bundle discounts on their higher-margin mobile packages,” Moon speculates.
“Beyond the regulatory aspects, the main determinant of this is the competitive position of quad-players, and at the moment I don’t see a big incentive for operators to undermine their mobile margins.”
Moon believes the most service innovation is coming from the fixed-line side, particularly from fibre operators looking to leverage their ultra-broadband networks.
A good example is the retail service provider My Republic in Singapore, and now in New Zealand, which offers super-cheap 1Gbps broadband at less than US$40/month, then provides add-ons such as low latency (for gamers) and the Teleport streaming service, which accesses content from Netflix and Pandora – OTT players whose content is not available to Internet users in the country.