Telenor aims to connect 45 million Internet users in Asia by year-end
By Digital News Asia September 11, 2014
- Unprecedented mobile data growth and demand in past 2yrs in its Asia markets
- ‘… brings us one step closer to realising our Internet for All mission in Asia’
NORWAY’S Telenor Group said it expects to increase its mobile Internet subscriber base in Asia to 45 million users by year’s end, an increase of approximately 64% year-over-year and the company’s fastest uptake of mobile Internet users to date.
When these numbers are reached, roughly one-third of Telenor’s 160 million-person user base in Asia will be Internet-enabled, the company said in a statement. The telecommunications giant has a presence in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Thailand.
Currently, fewer than 20% in Telenor’s markets in Asia are active mobile data users, so this would be a marked jump and an encouraging step toward widespread Internet access, it said.
The company’s ‘Internet for All’ strategy aims to capture this significant revenue and growth potential in a region with low fixed-line penetration and declining device prices, it added.
“This brings us one step closer to realising our ‘Internet for All’ mission in Asia. Our projections may be ambitious, but we are well positioned to continue rolling out mobile Internet services to all in our Asia markets over the long-term,” said Sigve Brekke (pic), Telenor Group executive vice president and head of Asia Operations.
“From a commercial perspective, mobile Internet and mobile data are valuable for all economic players. They more than sustain business and allow us to continue innovating, serving and connecting.
“Internet penetration contributes to GDP (gross domestic product), as reports from McKinsey and the Boston Consulting Group have indicated, and it helps new technology ecosystems flourish in developing markets.
“From a human perspective, the mobile Internet is life-changing. And in this region of the world, we have the opportunity to bring our services to a much larger pool of people. The significant mobile Internet growth that we project this year in all of our Asia markets shows that we’re well on way toward Internet for All,” he added.
Next-gen spectrum rollouts in Asia
Telenor’s Asia markets have seen an unprecedented rate of mobile data growth and demand in the past two years, the company claimed.
In 2013, Thailand’s mobile Internet penetration nearly doubled, leaping from 18% to 32% (NTSB), and Thai telco dtac recently launched 4G services in Bangkok on top of its 3G network nationwide to begin filling this high demand.
Telenor has also secured 3G spectrum in Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan, an additional 1800MHz in India, as well as 900MHz and 2.1GHz in Myanmar.
Grameenphone in Bangladesh completed the fastest ever nationwide rollout of 3G in Telenor history in early 2014.
In April, Telenor Pakistan acquired a licence to begin next-generation 3G services and increase the number of mobile Internet users in the country.
In India, Uninor recently introduced Internet services both on feature-phones and smartphones, and expects to double both active data users and data revenues this year.
Finally, Telenor will start the rollout of 2G and 3G services in Myanmar next month.
In order to stimulate usage and meet customers’ needs, Telenor is partnering with social media and entertainment players such as Facebook, Wikipedia and WhatsApp and is focusing on other digital offers including financial services, knowledge access, as well as affordable and accessible health services.
“By using these services, the lives of individuals will transform and in turn stimulate societies to grow,” said Henrik Clausen (pic), the newly-appointed executive vice president and head of Group Strategy and Digital, and formerly the chief executive officer of DiGi.com, the Malaysian telco which is 49%-owned by Telenor.
“Given the strong growth trajectory and pace of innovation, we are confident that we can monetise on this huge demand for mobile data in the coming years,” he added.
As of the end of the second quarter 2014, Telenor had a total of 158 million voice, text and data subscribers in Asia.
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