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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        26  May 2011

More 3G users in Asia

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Qualcomm Inc. expects 3G subscriptions in Southeast Asia to increase substantially in the next two years, but added emerging markets still have significant room to expand its wireless networks.

Driven by social networking and e-commerce, Qualcomm expects 3G usage in Southeast Asia to almost triple from the current 1.2 billion to 3 billion by 2014, said John Stefanac, president of Qualcomm Southeast Asia and Pacific.

He said Indonesia and the Philippines are the second and sixth biggest users of Facebook in the world, respectively.

Stefanac added three-fourths of the total broadband connection would be accessed through mobile devices in emerging markets in the next two years. By 2014, monthly worldwide mobile data traffic is seen to exceed the total for the full year 2008.

“We will continue to look at Southeast Asia as a very important market in which we will see not just growth in traditional devices but growth in new devices that are becoming available,” he said, citing the significant growth of tablets and smartphones.

Amid the anticipated growth in 3G users, the Philippines like other emerging markets must strive to improve its 3G network since the penetration in Southeast Asia is just about 20 percent.

“We used to talk about a 100-percent penetration as saturation. When you got devices that are coming out and machines that have 3G capabilities, we’re talking about 700-percent penetration,” he said.

With the country’s top mobile carriers setting the massive expansion of 4G (fourth generation) mobile technology, Qualcomm said local telco providers must improve their 3G capacity before embarking on the deployment of the high-speed 4G technology.

“It’s taken us 10 years to get 3G devices in the range of being available to consumers in Southeast Asia. LTE [Long Term Evolution] is a relatively new technology so it’s still going to take some time before we take advantage of the benefits of economics of scale,” he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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