SHANGHAI: GSMA, a provider of mobile communications and mobile internet services and solutions, in a new study conducted states that three quarter of the Asia-Pacific region’s population will subscribe to mobile services by 2020; an increase of 600 million new subscribers when compared to statistics from 2015, which stated 62% of the Asia Pacific population had subscribed.

According to the report ‘The Mobile Economy: Asia Pacific 2016’,  the number of mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region reached 2.5 billion in 2015 and will grow to 3.1 billion by 2020. It was found that the Asia Pacific will account for 60 per cent of the one billion unique mobile subscribers that will be added to the global total by 2020. China, India, Indonesia and Japan are the largest markets in this region, with India itself having 250 million new subscribers by 2020.

In 2015, Mobile broadband (3G/4G) accounted for 45 per cent of total mobile connections in Asia Pacific, and is estimated to rise to 70 per cent by 2020 as operators continue to invest in 4G network build-outs and subscribers migrate to networks of higher speeds. The APAC region in 2015 had 76 live 4G-LTE networks and 20 live VoLTE networks. The report also states that 4G migration is increasing in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand while the region’s 4G pioneers – South Korea, Japan and China – are driving the development of 5G mobile technologies.

The number of smartphone connections in Asia Pacific in 2015 was 1.7 billion and is estimated to reach 3 billion by 2020. The report also states that mobile technologies and services made up 5.4 per cent of Asia Pacific’s GDP last year, equivalent to $1.3 trillion in economic value and is set to increase to $1.7 trillion by 2020.

In 2015, the mobile ecosystem in Asia also supported 15 million jobs including workers directly employed in the ecosystem and jobs that are indirectly supported by the economic activity generated by the sector. It also made a substantial contribution to public sector funding by raising approximately $111 billion via general taxation in 2015.

Thus mobile has become a platform that enables digital identity, financial inclusion, and a range of social and developmental services that are also nurturing to deliver the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“More than half the world’s mobile subscribers are based in Asia Pacific and the region will be the main engine of global subscriber growth for the remainder of the decade,” says Mats Granryd, GSMA Director General. “Rising subscriber penetration, alongside accelerating migration to faster networks and more advanced services, continues to fuel innovation and digitisation across both advanced and emerging markets in this highly diverse region. Mobile is helping Asia build digital societies that allow its citizens to access services, anytime and anywhere – and these mobile-powered digital societies are becoming major drivers of social and economic development.”