According to industry analysts Media Partners Asia (MPA), the rollout of fiber-based broadband networks is growing rapidly in emerging Asian markets, although income demographics and topography suggest that wireless will become the de facto standard for broadband access.
By 2023, there will be ~3 billion wireless broadband subs, driven by smartphone usage, compared to 444 million fixed broadband households.
Much of mobile broadband’s growth will be driven by China, India and Southeast Asia, while the smartphone base is also significant in Korea and Japan.
At the same time, the market for fixed broadband infrastructure is also developing well, boosted by fiber deployment and advanced cable networks in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, joining existing leaders such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Singapore.
MPA analysis indicates that 78% of total fixed broadband connections in Asia-Pacific will be upgraded to fiber by 2023, versus 47% in 2014.
This means that fiber will grow from ~145 million subs in 2014 to more than 346 million by 2023, with a significant chunk of growth derived from ADSL substitution.
Such growth will be invariably driven by North Asia (i.e. China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan) in addition to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Mobile broadband penetration will be at its highest in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
While broadband subs will grow rapidly in both India and Indonesia, infrastructural development and high levels of penetration will only occur over a long-term time frame. That said, in India, mobile broadband infrastructure will develop more rapidly relative to fiber broadband.
In a number of key markets – including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand – closer integration between broadband operators and OTT video platforms will boost growth across the ecosystem.
Such a trend has already started to play out in Australia and Japan.