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Managing data demand in Asia–Pacific

Janette Stewart Principal, Consulting

Governments must act now to release harmonised mobile spectrum bands and allocate more spectrum for mobile to meet rising consumer demand.

Managing data demand Report 

Broadband connections in Asia–Pacific will generate USD1.2 trillion of GDP growth and up to 35 million new jobs by 2020.

This new report, developed by Analysys Mason with worldwide analysis from Huawei, suggests that this opportunity can only be realised if governments act now to fully release harmonised mobile spectrum bands and allocate more spectrum for mobile services to meet the rising consumer demand and support the development of new mobile services in the long term.

Findings from the report were presented at the Global Mobile Broadband Forum, 12 months ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) treaty negotiations, which will be instrumental in determining the future of the mobile Internet.


The report shows that faster-than-expected growth in the number of mobile data subscribers in China (that is, those using 3G and 4G networks) is set to result in almost 15 000PB of data being carried on China’s mobile networks per year by 2019. This is about 25% of the traffic forecast for the entire Asia–Pacific region, and represents a CAGR of more than 55% between now and 2019.

It also highlights that a 10 percentage point rise in broadband connections leads to a 0.26–0.92% GDP increase, and that each 1000 additional broadband connections creates 33 new jobs.

Other report findings include:

  • Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to access the Internet. The number of mobile broadband (3G and 4G) connections is forecast to reach 3 billion in Asia–Pacific by 2020, when they will consume more than 50 000PB 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 5×20MHz carriers) to maintain the region’s leadership in 4G.
  • New services, including video streaming, location-based apps and the Internet of Things (IoT), 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 device.
  • Operators are fundamentally changing the way in which they use 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.
  • A range of options – including the concentration of established services into smaller bandwidths – is available to national regulators and policy makers as a means of releasing new spectrum for mobile use. Ultimately, choices should be guided by the benefits of using different bands for new mobile uses, relative to the cost of alternative options for meeting users’ needs.

Registered users can download the key findings of the report now. Login or register for a free account by completing the form below.

(The full report is due to be published in December 2014.)