This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Broadband and Internet markets in Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Subjects covered include:
Internet Infrastructure and Developments
Internet policies, models and concepts
Regional and International Networks
Internet Market, VPNs and VoIP
Vision for a National Policy, Government Policies
Network Operators, Wholesalers and Retailers, Utilities Projects
xDSL, HFC, MDS, Satellite, Cable Modems, Cable Telephony
This Asia market report covers 11 countries in the South East Asia sub-region. It takes an overall look at the various telecoms markets, together with a particular look at the broadband and Internet segments in each of the countries. The markets covered include:
Brunei The move into Internet has been less impressive so far, despite the government’s strong support for IT and e-commerce. JTB’s BruNet has introduced a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)-based broadband Internet access service.
Cambodia Internet penetration remains particularly low, with the services on offer being notably expensive in comparison to other countries in the region. In a positive sign, a number of WiFi hotspots have started to appear in Phnom Penh and other locations.
Indonesia By end-2005, Indonesia had an estimated 16 million Internet users. This, however, represented only about 8% of the population. Broadband services are still in their infancy, with less than 150,000 mainly DSL subscribers. Problems with inferior telecommunications infrastructure will continue to impede Internet growth. Despite all this, the country is considered to have enormous potential as an online market.
Laos The country’s political structure, widespread poverty, a general lack of adequate telecom infrastructure, poor English skills and a low level of PC penetration have all contributed to the slow development of Internet in Laos. ISPs in Laos have initially moved cautiously into offering broadband Internet access. In mid-2003, ETL launched a broadband Internet service based on ADSL under a Japanese grant aid project. Lao Telecom then entered the broadband market in early 2004. Planet Online started a wireless broadband service in Vientiane in mid-2005.
Malaysia Malaysia has also been continuing to develop its multi-billion dollar Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) project, another part of the government’s strategy to turn Malaysia into the high technology hub of South East Asia. So far more than US$5 billion has been invested in this project. The government says that it is meeting targets, with over 1,200 companies already involved. At the same time, however, efforts by the government at encouraging the wider community to embrace technology have so far met with limited success. The level of interest in broadband Internet has been surprisingly low and broadband household penetration was less than 8% in early 2006. One bright spot in this market has been WiFi, as the service providers start to rollout WiFi hotspots.
Myanmar Internet access continues to be problematic, being severely restricted in its availability to the general public.
Philippines Compared with many of its Asian neighbours, the Philippines has been moving slowly on the adoption of Internet. Of the estimated 6% of the population who are Internet users, only a small fraction (probably around 5%) use a broadband connection to go online. Broadband household penetration is an insignificant 0.5%. Future growth in this area will depend on the provision of reliable infrastructure, especially in support of broadband Internet.
Singapore Singapore was the first country in the world to deploy DSL commercially when SingTel launched its service in November 1997. It came as some surprise, therefore, when Singapore was initially slow to move on the large-scale adoption of broadband Internet access. Following a major effort to expand its broadband services, however, the country is now a serious player, with more than 65% of Internet households having broadband access by early 2006. It has positioned itself well for the development and adoption of a full range of triple play and Next Generation (NGN) services.
Thailand Whilst Internet has been popular in Thailand for some years now (user penetration of around 14%), broadband access had been languishing. In the 2004/05 period, the number of broadband subscribers suddenly increased more than tenfold. Broadband penetration, however, remained low at around 0.5%.
Timor Leste The tiny fledgling nation of East Timor experienced further political instability and outbreaks of violence in the first half of 2006. To the observer, the country had appeared to have got off to a solid start in rebuilding its entire infrastructure following the turbulence that ensued after the referendum of 1999. However, it remains difficult to assess the long term impact of the events of 2006 on such things as infrastructure building. Following the 1999 crisis, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) provided overall administrative and financial assistance during the period up until elections were held in April 2002. The United Nations finally completed its role in early 2005. The new government was looking to gain ongoing assistance from the international community in putting strong systems in place. Telecommunications remains an important priority under a newly established Ministry of Transport, Communication & Public Works. In July 2002, the East Timor government selected Portugal Telecom to be the lead partner in a consortium to operate Timor Telecom. The new operator replaced Telstra in March 2003 and set about expanding the countries telecom facilities.
Note: Timor Leste (also known as East Timor) is yet to be listed as a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This makes it difficult to obtain official statistics on the country’s telecom sector.
Vietnam Despite the government’s cautiousness about the Internet (and occasional news reports indicating serious problems with human rights issues), this segment of the market has been gaining a strong foothold. Internet user penetration was running at a healthy 14% by end-2005. Boosted by incumbent VNPT’s development of DSL infrastructure, the broadband market finally started to move in 2004; in 2005, the number of broadband subscribers tripled, although by year-end broadband household penetration was only about 1%.
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