Mobile Internet will help bridge Asian digital divide

It is mobile Internet that will help close the digital divide in Asia, according to Ericsson Malaysia.

Ericsson Malaysia president Krishna Kumar said: "In Malaysia, there has been growth but one in two PCs don't yet have broadband access, so there is a significant broadband opportunity locally, especially in the next one or two years."

"Malaysia is seen as a key market for Ericsson: people need to have access for browsing, messaging, e-mail, downloading and file sharing," said Kumar. "Analyst firm Pyramid Research indicates that fewer than 10 million households in Southeast Asia have broadband subscriptions today, and 40 million households need to be addressed."

Room for growth

Kumar said: "By the close of 2008, mobile provider Maxis claimed four million subscribers who can access the Internet through the mobile phone, of which 195,000 are mobile broadband users."

"In 2009, mobile Internet usage will really take off, driven by new portable devices, and the economic downturn is a blessing in disguise as user behaviour has changed: people stay at home and access the Internet," he said. "Gaming is also a key driver behind increased data usage."

He said that Ericsson estimated a growth of all data traffic in Southeast Asia, where just 10 per cent of all data traffic by 2011 would be voice.

Solving bottlenecks

"There is a huge data traffic growth in Malaysia because of the uptake of broadband services," said Ericsson head of broadband networks product marketing, Don McCullough. "Managing mobile backhaul is the new challenge for operators, in order to give end-users the quality of service they expect or need."

McCullough said that once the data is generated, it is transported through radio network controllers into the core network, the metro optical network.

"Radio backhaul network is where we need to solve bottlenecks in coping with different systems and protocols," said McCullough. "Such as from GSM's [global system for mobile communications] at 14.4 Kbps, through to HSPA [high speed packet access] Evolution at 42Mbps, and LTE [long term evolution] at 80-160 Mbps."

"Our view is IP-over-ethernet is the most cost-effective approach," said McCullough. "Ericsson have end-to-end systems from microwave, optical transport GPON [gigabit-capable passive optical network], through to high speed copper fibre, as well as point-to- point solutions," said McCullough.

"Asia is the driver behind any current economical momentum," added Kumar. "Malaysia is one of our premier markets, especially in terms of rates of adoption. Ericsson's role is to help ease access to the Internet, as well as to provide consistency, quality of service, and reasonable pricing."

This story, "Mobile Internet will help bridge Asian digital divide" was originally published by MIS Asia.

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