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Three key trends driving ICT growth in the APAC region: Ericsson

Zafirah Salim | June 25, 2014
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, youth culture, urbanisation, and the rise of smartphones are the key drivers of ICT growth in Asia Pacific.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a growing global phenomenon where individuals use their own mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, in the workplace. Ericsson feels that it is the result of increasing globalisation, technological advances and an improving economic environment.

Their analysis shows that consumers believe BYOD enables a good work-life balance in cities. This is especially the case in developing markets such as Jakarta. Consumers in this city expressed a higher preference for achieving a work-life balance and were in favor of BYOD policies, ahead of other metropolitan cities in the global study. The proportion of online purchases made whilst commuting in Jakarta is among the highest studied. These findings exemplify how ICT impacts work and personal lives in the region.

This trend will continue in the future, with ICT supporting social development in areas such as healthcare, communication between citizens and government, and access to education. Despite the urbanisation trend, a significant proportion of the population will continue to live in rural areas in 2019. ICT can also improve people's lives in these places by providing services that meet their needs, and extending the availability of services that could not previously be offered outside of cities.

Rise of the smartphone

Internet access is unevenly distributed worldwide. This gives rise to a digital divide, where some people are disadvantaged due to their inability to get online. This divide is widespread in SEA and Oceania, reflecting economic inequality and different attitudes to technology.

Limited access to fixed line internet makes smartphones more important in these places. The influx of cheaper smartphones - increasingly costing less than USD 100 - gives more consumers the chance to go online. In the region's developing countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines, the smartphone is the primary device for accessing most internet services.

Video streaming, online shopping and news updates are the exceptions - a device with a larger screen is preferred for these activities. The situation is different in advanced markets, where laptops are still the primary device for accessing services online.

Smartphones have a higher utilisation and penetration rate among young people in the region. This segment has been a strong driver in smartphone growth in South East Asia and Oceania.

"Youth are active users of apps, especially messaging apps; and in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, one-third of the population is aged 10 to 24. In these countries, we also observe that the smartphone is the primary device for internet access and as smartphones become cheaper, more consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity," said Arun Bansal, Head of Ericsson's Region South East Asia and Oceania.

"Today, smartphone penetration ranges from around 20 percent for developing markets to more than 60 percent for advanced markets. As smartphone subscriptions are expected to grow about five times, there will be more than 700 million smartphone subscriptions in the region by 2019 and will constitute more than half of its expected 1.3 billion total mobile subscriptions," he added.


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