THREE key trends driving information communication and technology (ICT) growth in Southeast Asia are youth culture, urbanization and the rise of smartphones, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.
“Youth are active users of applications, especially messaging apps and in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia nearly one-third of the population is aged 16 to 24,” Elie Hanna, president of Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands, told reporters.
Ericsson said Southeast Asia’s youth population is more than 170 million and among the largest globally. The region’s youth population is among the largest in the world and is driving the uptake of apps, smartphones and mobile data services, Ericsson said.
With this, mobile data traffic in the region will grow by more than 10 times between 2013 and 2019, it said.
“In these countries we also observe that the smartphone is the primary device for internet access and as smartphones become cheaper, more consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity,” Hanna said.
Data from Ericsson showed that 60 percent of smartphone owners in the Philippines are youths.
The company released its first appendix to the Ericsson Mobility Report that specifically covers the Southeast Asia and Oceania regions.
“Today, smartphone penetration ranges from around 20 percent for developing markets to more than 60 percent for advanced markets,” Hanna added.
The company said that the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide grew approximately 7 percent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2014, and that around 65 percent of all mobile phones sold in the first quarter of 2014 were smartphones.
It said Asia Pacific will have a large share of total mobile traffic in 2019 due mainly to the rapid growth in subscription.
Local demographic and mobile subscriber data tend to support Ericsson’s findings.
Data from the National Statistics Office showed that the number of Filipinos aged 3 to 24 years, which stood at approximately 44.6 million in July 2008, constituted almost half, or 49 percent, of the total population in the country at the time.
Globe Telecom’s mobile subscriber base reached 38.5 million at the end of December 2013, up 16 percent from the 33.1 million a year ago.
Meanwhile, Philippine Long Distance (PLDT) Group’s total cellular subscriber base at the end of March 2014 was 70.5 million subscribers, broken down as follows: Smart had 25.9 million subscribers under its mainstream Smart brands; value brand Talk ‘N Text had 29.5 million subscribers; and Sun Cellular had 15.1 million subscribers.