In a sharp departure from the way things are in the U.S., new market research from ReportsnReports suggests that the fixed telecom infrastructure business is actually swinging up in Asia, thanks to the popularity of mobile telecommunications and the dearth of existing wireline infrastructure to support broadband services.
"There has been a major push to upgrade domestic telecoms networks to Next Generation Networks (NGNs)" which has led to large scale investment by Asia's leading telecom markets into new IP-based telecom networks, a news release touting the report said.
Remarkably, this new wireline growth is coming because of the popularity of wireless services.
"In many of the developing nations of the region, the building of fixed-line infrastructure was not far advanced before it was overwhelmed by the introduction of mobile infrastructure," the news release said. "This created the phenomenon of 'substitution' in many of the markets of Asia."
While voice is not a priority of the new infrastructure building and fixed line numbers have only increased "marginally" in recent years, the demand for broadband is leading to the demand for more fixed line infrastructure as multiple nations institute various National Broadband Networks (NBNs).
"Not surprisingly, the NBNs rely heavily upon fiber; in some cases its fiber-to-the-premises, while in other it might be fiber-to-the node," the news release continued.
The new infrastructure is all designed to help satiate a demand for broadband data that has come, ironically, from the burgeoning wireless business.
"There has been a boom in IP-based services, with the volume of international voice over Internet Protocol traffic into and out of Asia having increased at a rapid rate at the expense of the traditional International Direct Dial traffic," the news release reported.
The report does not slight the value of wireless to the region—or its popularity—pointing out that in 2011 South Korea and Singapore had more mobile broadband subscribers than population and Japan listed 90 percent mobile broadband penetration. The wireless business, while still growing, has seen a slowdown from annual growth rates of 20-30 percent from 2005-2010 to about 10 percent in 2011 and going forward.
It emphasized, however, that "fixed wired broadband remained a key component of the infrastructure in Asia" and that 30 million fixed broadband subscribers were added in China alone in 2011. That, the report said, is about half the total subscribers added worldwide.
- see this news release
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