SHANGHAI: The mobile industry generated $1tr in GDP for Asia Pacific economies in 2012 and this figure could more than double over the next seven years, a new report has claimed.
A GSMA study, Mobile Economy: Asia Pacific 2013, analysed the mobile communications industry across 27 countries in Asia Pacific, and found that it was a major driver of economic change and growth for the region. It claimed the market could contribute an additional $2.3tr to annual GDP by 2020.
"Mobile is already having a profound impact across all Asia Pacific countries, with spectacular growth in service penetration, driven by investment in infrastructure and continued innovation in devices and services," said Anne Bouverot, the GSMA's director general.
"We are now at the dawn of a far greater growth opportunity," she added. Bouverot also urged the region's governments and regulators to help the industry meet its full potential by creating environments that encouraged investment and by making additional spectrum available at the right time.
Asia Pacific currently has 1.6bn unique mobile subscribers, a figure that is expected to rise to 1.9bn in 2017, by which time the region will account for almost half the forecast global total of 3.9bn.
The greater affordability of mobile services is helping to fuel this rise. The GSMA said the average monthly cost of mobile services was falling by 5% a year and had declined from $28.80 in 2005 to $19.70 in 2012.
The nature of phone usage is also changing, as consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones to access data rather than to talk. The report noted that data usage grew at a compound annual growth rate of almost 142% from 2010 to 2012.
This trend will continue as 3G and 4G connections spread, growing at 17% a year over the next five years.
The GSMA also suggested that the mobile boom is having a significant socio-economic impact, via mobile-enabled services such as payments, education and information services, and by enabling entrepreneurial start-ups in areas such as mobile advertising and online video sites.
Data sourced from GSMA; additional content by Warc staff