Smartphone penetration to exceed 100% by 2018

Smartphone penetration in Malaysia is expected to exceed 100% by 2018, driven by increase in data usage, says Swedish technology and services giant Ericsson.

Ericsson Malaysia and Sri Lanka head Todd Ashton said a recent mobility report showed smartphone subscription penetration in Malaysia was higher than the rate of the country’s urbanisation in 2015.

He said the unrelenting growth in application utilisation and mobile data traffic would continue to deliver strong revenue opportunities to mobile operators.

“This app-centric world requires new thinking on how networks are built to deliver the best customer experiences while maximising the return on investment,” he told reporters in conjunction with the release of the fifth Ericsson Mobility Report in Petaling Jaya, yesterday.

The report disclosed the network performance of countries in the South-East Asia and Oceania with Australia and Singapore leading in the deployment of the long-term evolution (LTE) and LTE Advanced infrastructure.

The analysis showed that data intensive applications including high definition video streaming could easily be delivered by mobile networks in the two countries.

“LTE carrier aggregation in Australia has enabled possible peak download speeds of up to 600Mbps,” the report said.

Ashton said similar opportunities are open to Malaysian operators in the future while the government has also allocated RM1.2 billion to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to continue developing the telecommunications infrastructure.

“Initiatives such as this will continue to improve mobile broadband connectivity nationwide, especially in rural areas, and create tremendous economic and social opportunity for people and businesses across Malaysia.

“This initiative also provides huge opportunities for operators and local app developers to capture the growth of applications and smartphones,” he said.

He said while 80% of the country’s population are smartphones users, LTE adoption in Malaysia is still very small. He said mobile operators have a huge potential to grow their revenue by expanding LTE adoption in the country.

Meanwhile, LTE adoption across South-East Asia and Oceania is forecast to register exponential growth in the next six years, reaching over 75% of the population by 2021, while subscriptions are expected to grow to around 40%, the report stated.

“Mobile subscriptions in the South-East Asia and Oceania region will exceed one billion by the end of 2015 or about 14% of the total global market,” the report said.