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New Study Finds More Spectrum for Mobile Broadband is Vital to Boost Economic Growth in Asia Pacific

2014-11-21 15:53
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World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15)

LONDON--()--Increased broadband connections in Asia Pacific will generate US $1.2 trillion of GDP growth and create up to 35 million new jobs by 20201, according to a new report from the GSMA, “Today, Tomorrow and the Future – Managing Data Demand in Asia Pacific”, developed by Analysys Mason with global analysis from Huawei2. However, this opportunity can only be realised if governments act now to fully release existing harmonised mobile spectrum bands and allocate more spectrum for mobile to meet rising consumer demand and support the development of new mobile services in the longer term. The report’s findings were presented today at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum3, 12 months ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) treaty negotiations4, which will be pivotal to determining the future of the mobile Internet.

“As this new report highlights, there is an urgent need for regulators across Asia Pacific and around the world to assign further mobile spectrum to enable the penetration rates and social and economic benefits promised, while avoiding interference along country borders,” said David Wang, President, Huawei Wireless Networks. “This will ensure that operators in the region can support governments’ broadband access goals with the investments necessary to deploy next generation mobile technology, benefiting both business and society.”

The findings of the report are further supported by the GSMA’s spectrum estimation model5, which predicts a global shortfall of mobile spectrum of between 600 to 800MHz6. In particular, the GSMA’s model finds that there is insufficient spectrum available in the Asia Pacific region to meet predicted future mobile traffic growth and support planned advances in technology.

This latest report shows that faster-than-expected growth in both mobile data subscribers in China, using 3G and 4G networks, is set to result in almost 15,000 petabytes of data per year being carried on China’s mobile networks by 2019. This is approximately 25 per cent of total traffic forecasted for the entire Asia Pacific region and a compound annual growth rate of more than 55 per cent between now and 2019.

Based on a number of third-party estimates, the report also highlighted that a 10 percentage point rise in broadband connections leads to between 0.26 and 0.92 per cent increase in GDP and that for every extra 1,000 broadband connections, 33 new jobs are created.

Other report findings include:

  • With consumers increasingly using mobile devices to access the Internet, 3 billion mobile broadband (3G and 4G) connections are predicted in Asia Pacific by 20207, consuming over 50,000 petabytes of data per year. Sufficient bandwidth and spectrum must be made available to enable operators to deploy the latest mobile technologies.
  • Operators in the region lead the way in commercialising the use of multi-frequency bands to deploy LTE-Advanced. They will increasingly need to use spectrum in multiple bands (typically aggregating 5X20MHz carriers) to maintain the region’s leadership in 4G.
  • New services, including streaming video, location-based apps and the Internet of Things, are all supported by today’s mobile networks. To enable future growth, networks will need to accommodate different traffic loads and cater for the connection of many more types of devices.
  • Operators are changing fundamentally the way they use existing spectrum in order to meet market needs. This includes refarming, which requires technological innovation to enhance the efficiency and flexibility of spectrum usage. Refarming of 2G spectrum for 3G use has resulted in the swift adoption of UMTS900 handsets in Asia Pacific. One example is the refarming of 900MHz spectrum in Hutchison’s network in Hong Kong, using Huawei’s single radio access network (RAN) infrastructure to provide UMTS900.
  • Concentration of use of existing services into smaller bandwidths and a range of other options are available to national regulators and policy makers in order to release new spectrum for mobile use. Ultimately, choices should be guided by the benefits of using different bands for new mobile use, relative to the costs of alternative options to meet existing users’ needs.

“The negotiations at WRC-15 in Geneva next November provide a unique opportunity for leaders in the Asia Pacific region to support the next generation of mobile networks and services,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “We urge governments to make a clear and strong call for significantly more spectrum for mobile, to promote the future growth of their countries’ digital economies and to enhance the lives of their citizens through widespread access to digital services and, hence, greater social inclusion.”

To access the report, please visit: www.gsma.com/spectrum/today-tomorrow-and-the-future-managing-data-demand-in-asia-pacific


Notes to Editors

1 Economic benefits are based on the predicted effect of increased broadband connections of all types, including mobile broadband, in the countries studied for this report, namely Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and South Korea. The report predicts that a significant proportion of the benefits will be coming from mobile broadband. This impact is maximised if sufficient spectrum is available to enable mobile networks to be deployed with the best speeds and coverage achievable for the given market. The order of magnitude of these estimates is broadly consistent with other studies that the GSMA has published on the impact of mobile broadband services.

2 Huawei was a knowledge partner for this report, contributing direct access to its global market analysis, its research and development and engineering teams and aggregated network data from its customer networks.

3 Find out more at http://www.huawei.com/minisite/mbb-forum2014/index.html

4 More information about WRC-15 is available at http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/conferences/wrc/2015/Pages/default.aspx

5 Created by Coleago Consulting

6 The GSMA has identified the following spectrum bands as suitable for future use by mobile broadband services: sub 700MHz UHF (470-694/8MHz); L-Band (1350-1400MHz and 1427-1518MHz); 2.7-2.9GHz; C-Band (3.4-3.8GHz and 3.8-4.2GHz). The report’s assessment of the current uses of each of these bands within selected countries in the Asia Pacific suggests that allocations within the bands are broadly similar but actual usage, and how extensively they are used, varies.

7 Source: GSMA Intelligence (www.gsmaintelligence.com)

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Through our dedication to customer-centric innovation and strong partnerships, we have established end-to-end advantages in telecom networks, devices and cloud computing. We are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers by providing competitive solutions and services. Our products and solutions have been deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one-third of the world’s population. For more information, visit Huawei online: www.huawei.com.

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. Spanning more than 220 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in industry sectors such as financial services, healthcare, media, transport and utilities. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

About Analysys Mason

At the core of Analysys Mason’s offer are two key services: consultancy and research. To support these, we have developed skills and techniques that deliver tangible results for clients the world over. One of the features that sets our consultancy work apart is our exclusive focus on telecoms, media and technology (TMT). We are specialists, and proud of it. Analysys Mason works with clients across the TMT sector and across the world. Most important of all, we never forget that the point of consultancy is to make a tangible difference to our clients’ businesses. In terms of our research, many of the world’s leading network operators, vendors, regulators and investors subscribe to our research programmes and rely on our insight to inform their decision making. Clients also have the opportunity to engage one-to-one with our subject-matter experts for tailored advice on critical business issues. For more information, visit Analysys Mason at www.analysysmason.com.


For the GSMA
Weber Shandwick London
Charlie Meredith-Hardy, +44 (0)7917 298 428
GSMA Press Office
For Analysys Mason
Press Office
Gina Ghensi, +44 (0)1223 460600
For Huawei
Joe Kelly, + 86 186 8233 9590
Vice President of Media Affairs