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Emerging interest for Asian 3G

Although the rural markets are likely to remain the priority of operators in Asia’s developing markets for some while yet, the potential for 3G is not to be underestimated.

Nick Jotischky, emerging markets telecoms analyst with Business Monitor International, said that in one of the biggest markets – Indonesia – leading operator Telkomsel has done a good job promoting its 3G services and garnering hundreds of thousands of WCDMA subscribers as a result.

However, the number of those subscribers actually using the advanced services is open to question and, with little activity so far from other 3G licence holders in that market, the potential for growth is hard to determine.

But Indonesia has a youthful population so there is the hope that gaming and music downloading could take off in more middle class urban areas of the country. And such is the size of the population that this segment is likely to be a large market in its own right.

However, Jotischky sees the rural markets remaining the priority. “They’re impressed by the numbers of mobile subscribers coming on stream every month: five, six million in India, one million in Pakistan – those kind of extraordinary figures,” he said. “I think most operators are looking at rural markets as the place to be.”


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