The market for mobile broadband use is said to reach the 1 billion milestone later in 2011, in terms of user base. However, the Asia Pacific sees big disparities per market, particularly with developed vis-a-vis emerging economies. Still, top ICT trends in 2011 point toward a growth in the use of mobile devices in the APAC region.

Frost & Sullivan has published its top trends/predictions in 2011, and highlights that mobile devices will be a hot area for ICT in the region. Smartphone sales are expected to be in the 100 million level, which should account for 20% of all mobile devices sold. This is expected to balloon to a 500 million sales figure in the region by 2015, accounting for 60% of all mobile devices sold.

Nitin Bhat, partner and vice president for Frost & Sullivan ICT Practice Asia Pacific, believes that this trend is driven by a decline in prices and increasing functionality of smartphones. Furthermore, the increase in smartphone use will drive more demand toward 3G networks and services.

While Asia's wireless market is saturated for 2G services with only China and India with room left for significant 2G growth, 3G services still represent significant opportunity with 3G services penetration at less than 50% in most Asia Pacific markets. Increased smartphone usage will drive the 3G services market, Nitin says.

Tablets & Mobile Cloud Services

Frost & Sullivan also predicts that 2011 will be the year when tablet computers will overtake netbooks as the mobile computing tool of choice, particularly for accessing content like e-books, videos and online games. The market for tablet computers worldwide is expected to reach 15 to 17 million this year, which amounts to 6% of the market share for personal computers.

Meanwhile, the popularity of smartphones and tablets is expected to give rise to mobile cloud applications. In effect, going to the cloud will help smartphones and tablets overcome inherent hardware limitations, such as small storage, inadequate processing speed and power-saving requirements. Mobile security will also be a prime concern, especially for enterprise users. This will include safety and privacy applications like remote wipe and virus protection.

Nitin says that the market for cloud computing in APAC has grown to US$ 1.1 billion this year, which is mostly comprised of SaaS deployments. He highlights the role of Singapore as a cloud computing hub in the region, given a strong broadband infrastructure and the presence of a large base of multinational companies.

IPTV and Ultra High Speed Broadband

Apart from trends in mobile computing, Frost & Sullivan also predicts that IPTV will play a big role in content delivery, given that pay TV providers will start offering a hybrid of pay- and IP-based television. This gives the benefit of viewing content on different devices like smartphones, PCs and tablets. IPTV uptake is said to grow at a compound rate of 13.2% annually from 13.2 million at end of 2010 to 28.7 million by end 2016.

This is brought about by an improvement in broadband infrastructure, particularly as ultra high-speed broadband becomes predominant in developed countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. New ultra broadband initiatives are also underway in New Zealand, China and Taiwan.