Spectrum Harmonisation for Mobile Crucial for Socio-Economic Development Across Asia Pacific, Says GSMA

By Gsma, PRNE
Sunday, November 14, 2010

New research highlights how mobile could add $729 billion to the GDP of Asia Pacific nations by 2020

HONG KONG, November 16, 2010 - The GSMA today unveiled new independent research that highlights the
positive impact harmonised spectrum allocation for mobile could have on the
Asia Pacific region. The report*, released by the GSMA and The Boston
Consulting Group (BCG), states that if governments allocate the 700 MHz band
for Mobile Broadband deployment, it would bring much greater economic and
social benefits to Asia Pacific than if allocated for services such as
broadcasting. These benefits include a $729 billion increase in GDP for Asia
countries by 2020, more than two million newly-created jobs across
the region, and a $131 billion increase in tax revenues.

"Asia Pacific is a leading mobile market capable of driving large
economies of scale and now has the opportunity to play a pivotal role in
setting the standards for spectrum harmonisation," said Tom Phillips, Chief
Government & Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA. "By allocating the 700 MHz
band to mobile, Asia Pacific countries could enjoy significant socio-economic
benefits and provide millions of people with low-cost mobile services
essential for their needs, such as Internet connectivity, especially in rural
areas, and much needed access to education, financial and health services.
Non-harmonisation of the 700 MHz band will significantly reduce these
benefits for the entire region, so it's imperative that governments and
regulators take a coordinated approach to spectrum allocation."

"The unprecedented amount of spectrum freed up in the switchover from
analogue to digital terrestrial television, known as the 'digital dividend',
is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Vaishali Rastogi, Partner and
Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group. "The evidence from our
research in Asia Pacific overwhelmingly suggests that the socio-economic
benefits of allocating the 700 MHZ band to mobile will far outweigh
alternatives such as broadcasting."

Harmonisation of the 700 MHz band will ensure that Asia Pacific countries
use the same frequency to deploy Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the
next-generation Mobile Broadband technology. Deploying LTE in this band will
drive large economies of scale and reduce capital and equipment costs for
providers, accelerating the roll out of networks and lowering costs for
consumers. It will also provide significant social benefits, particularly in
rural areas not served by fixed broadband, such as improved access to
education, the availability of new financial and health services, the wider
use of e-government tools and improved interactions between governments,
businesses and consumers. LTE in the 700 MHz band will also improve indoor
availability of Mobile Broadband in urban areas.

The report states, however, there are two conditions that are essential
for fulfilling the unique opportunity Mobile Broadband could provide the Asia
region. These are:

    - All Asia Pacific countries should allocate the 700 MHz band to Mobile
      Broadband deployment and services.

    - All Asia Pacific countries should implement the same technical
      specifications (the Asia Pacific Telecommunity's (ATP) 2 x 45 MHz band
      plan for the 700 MHz band) to achieve harmonisation and ensure that
      every country and its consumers benefit from economies of scale and
      lower equipment and handset costs.

Given the size and diversity of Asia Pacific, four countries representing
the range of social and economic development and current Internet adoption -
Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia - were studied in detail and the data
was used to build up a picture for the entire region. The research found that
there would be a large incremental adoption of Internet connectivity,
particularly in rural areas, as a result of allocating the 700 MHz band for
LTE, including a 14% increase in Internet subscriptions in Korea, 21% in
India, 22% in Indonesia and 23% in Malaysia - an increase of more than 25
million extra rural Internet users in these four countries alone. These
increases, when extrapolated across the region, would have a considerable
economic impact. Highlights from each country include:

    - The economic opportunities created by improved access to Mobile
      Broadband would account for a $75.5bn increase in GDP and deliver
      increased tax revenues of $7.2 billion between 2014 and 2020.

    - India's GDP is among the fastest growing in the world but allocating
      the 700 MHz band for Mobile Broadband would generate a $71 billion
      incremental increase in by 2020, mostly from increased productivity
      across all sectors.

    - Allocating the 700 MHz band to Mobile Broadband would make a
      significant difference to take up in rural areas, generating 9.7
      million more Internet subscriptions by 2020.

    - It is estimated that increased Internet adoption resulting from
      widespread Mobile Broadband deployment would create more than 44,000
      new jobs by 2020, with many in rural areas.

"Reaping the rewards that Mobile Broadband is proven to provide is
heavily dependent on governments and their regulators harmonising spectrum
for mobile and implementing supportive policy," concluded Phillips. "Not only
will governments lose out on the considerable economic opportunity, but
failure to harmonise spectrum in the 700 MHz band will also have a huge
impact on millions of people, such as higher prices, limited access to
critical services and significantly reduced Internet connectivity -
especially in rural areas where it's needed most."

To download the full report and for the individual research on Korea,
India, Indonesia and Malaysia, please use the following link:

Notes to editors

* Socio-economic impact of allocating 700MHz band to mobile in Asia
, The Boston Consulting Group

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
www.mobileworldlive.com or the GSMA corporate website at

Brian Paterson, +852-9755-3310, or Tracy Cheung, +852-9366-7761, mac at ebacomms.com, or Daniel Lowther: +44-7747-636-687, press at gsm.org

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