Staying ahead of the curve

From 5G to the potential of cloud and artificial intelligence, telecoms is one of technology’s fastest-developing sectors.

According to an Ericsson mobility report released last November, mobile subscriptions in South East Asia have exceeded 1.1 billion.
According to an Ericsson mobility report released last November, mobile subscriptions in South East Asia have exceeded 1.1 billion. Photo Credit: gettyimagess/metamorworks

The pandemic highlighted the extent to which both businesses and consumers rely on digital infrastructure, with 5G developments helping to make many digital applications a reality.

An Ericsson mobility report, released in November 2021, predicted that by the end of 2027, 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 4.4 billion, with North East Asia currently having the highest 5G subscription penetration levels. The report says that as 5G population coverage increases, "we could expect some new disruptive events, maybe in the mid-2020s, that take advantage of 5G capabilities in totally new ways, be it with new devices, business models or applications".

Within Asia, China and South Korea are seen as leading 5G markets, while in South East Asia, the Ericsson report says mobile subscriptions in the region have exceeded 1.1 billion. A further report from the GSM Association, which represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, titled The Mobile Economy Asia Pacific 2021, says mobile has been particularly instrumental during Covid-19 and will be even more integral to the way people live and how businesses operate post-pandemic.

The report also shows subscriber growth continuing, driven by South Asia (it does not include figures for Greater China, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, which are covered in a separate report). It says a usage gap continues to persist in Asia Pacific, as half of the population live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but do not yet use mobile internet services. Key barriers to mobile internet adoption include affordability, knowledge and digital skills, relevance, safety and access.

There are numerous telecoms events taking place across Asia Pacific in the months to come, including the Asia Pacific Telecoms Summit 2022, a virtual event taking place on 28 April, which brings together industry leaders from across South East Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Telecoms World Asia returns to Bangkok as a physical event, on 2-3 November at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentaraWorld. Topics up for discussion include ‘intelligent connectivity’, ‘Cloud and The Edge’ and ‘Digital Connectivity’.

MWC Shanghai meanwhile, to be hosted from 29 June to 1 July at Shanghai New International Expo Centre, will cover themes such as 5G, AI’s use of data, the potential of the cloud and the ‘Internet of Everything’.