HONG KONG, November 17 /PRNewswire/ -- On the eve of the 2009 Mobile Asia Congress, the GSMA, the body that represents the worldwide mobile communications industry, issued key findings that underscore the strength and success of the Asia Pacific mobile industry. The GSMA today released its Asia Pacific Mobile Observatory Report, which shows that since 2003, the Asia Pacific market has more than tripled in size, adding over a billion connections and growing at 26% CAGR(1) to reach 1.7 billion connections in 2008. The study was carried out for the GSMA by global management consultants A.T. Kearney across the 47 countries in the region.

The Observatory is the one of the most thorough, current views of the mobile market in the Asia Pacific region that has been undertaken, and shows that operators have seen phenomenal take-up of mobile communications in the region, employing 10 million people and driving the mobile ecosystem's contribution to the economy to nearly $370 billion (2.82% of GDP), said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA. Mobile Asia Congress this week, will offer important insights into the continued innovation and ingenuity that has propelled the Asian mobile market to this incredible growth, and it will also shed light on the key strategies and goals that mobile industry leaders globally are undertaking to drive this market forward.

The Observatory findings show that, as the global mobile market has grown beyond 4 billion connections, in 2009 the Asia Pacific region will cross the 2 billion connections threshold for the first time. It is projected that the Asia Pacific market will exceed 3 billion connections in 2013. With the continued investment in mobile broadband it is likely that mobile will be the primary form of data communications and rich internet access for the majority of people in the region. This impressive growth achieved in Asia Pacific has been driven by several key factors including;

- Rapid economic development in the region - Opening of markets to the forces of globalisation and foreign direct investment - Ambitious rollout of network infrastructure, driving population coverage to nearly 80% - The success of cost-effective pre-paid services (74% of Asia Pacific connections versus 68% in Europe and 16% in USA) - Introduction of low-cost handsets and the reduction in mobile usage prices driving down the minimum cost of mobile ownership - Innovative business models including infrastructure sharing and unique distribution channels making network expansion to rural areas economically viable

The Asian Mobile Observatory examines issues across a diverse footprint of countries and markets and shows that the industry outlook is positive as mobile makes a massive contribution on the economic, environmental and social agenda of the 47 countries in Asia Pacific. The research has shown that the mobile industry's relentless focus on bridging the digital divide and driving innovation in the years to come, coupled with regulatory and governmental support to develop and implement sustainable policies, will aid this ambitious growth.

The Mobile Asia Congress is being held November 18-19 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event will bring together leaders from Asian mobile operators and key players in the broader mobile ecosystem in an exclusive forum for sharing visions and strategies that will shape the mobile future. Over a two-day period, senior mobile industry executives from across Asia and the world will explore high-growth industry areas, emerging topics and a mainstay of strategic and technological issues, with an emphasis on developments in the Asian market.

The report is available at: http://www.gsmworld.com/asia_pacific_observatory

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry.

For more information, please visit Mobile World Live, the new online portal for the mobile communications industry, at http://www.mobileworldlive.com or the GSMA corporate website at http://www.gsmworld.com or contact:

(1) Compound Annual Growth Rate


CONTACT: GSMA, Daniel Lowther: +44-7747-636-687, press@gsm.org